By Tata Mbunwe
Government has through the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, MINPOSTEL, given a 12-month free internet package to the Silicon Mountain tech community in Buea, Fako division, South West region.
The offer is in fulfillment of a promise, MINPOSTEL boss, Minette Libom made last year. The package was announced Tuesday, March 15 to representatives of four tech hubs in the community, and 32 tech start-ups within these hubs who are benefiting from the offer.
“This internet is the fastest that you will get within the region and there are two main packages: the first package is a wireless package and that wireless package is a hundred and thirty-five gigabits of internet per month for 12 months, with a net value of about 450,000 per user,” said Dr Wilfred Mfuh, Technical Adviser no.2 at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommuncations.
“The other second package is a fibre to the office with six megabits of continuous internet, that’s unlimited. It also comes with a phone line and it also comes with a digital TV,” he added.
He said the aim is to ease the productivity of these tech hubs and ensure they can be as productive as they can be.
According to one of the beneficiaries, Churchill Nanje, who spoke to the press on behalf of the tech community, the support from government will solve one of Silicon Mountain’s worst problems – poor internet connection.
“Actually this is very good be infrastructure is what kills most of our start-ups in Silicon Mountain. With such good infrastructure, as start-ups, we will get to serve customers in Australia, South Africa, in Europe and the US,” Nanje said.
Nanje added that: “Fibre optic is the fastest, so our calls will be smooth. If someone in the office wants to learn a new technology, we will just tune video tutorials from MIT or from Standford at the speed of light. This connects us to the globe better and the infrastructure which is lacking, we finally get” .
During a meeting with some Silicon Mountain tech innovators in June last year, Minister Minette Libom had said her ministry will support the community with one-year free internet connection to facilitate research and innovation. Nine months later, the promise has been kept.
Addressing audiences via zoom during the installation ceremony, Minister Likeng said, “this offer by the government provides an important input into your productive cycle and it is my expectation that the professionals whom you are, will leverage this resource to enhance your output”.
She said the Silicon Mountain community should use the facilities government has offered, to fight cybercrime, which is now rampant in Buea.
“In effect, we all agreed to be part of the national coalition for the civic and responsible use of ICTs in Cameroon with the ultimate goal of 6 promoting the culture of peace and the harmonious socio-economic development of our dear country,” Minister said.
As a community that groups several start-ups in the ICT domain, Silicon Mountain incubates more than 30 tech start-ups which employ hundreds of Cameroonian youths.