It is not for the first time that people discuss affordable access to the modern technologies in Namibia.
The majority of our people are too poor to afford the prices of the monopoly business of MTC and Telecom, of which the majority shareholder is our state. Without a drastic change of attitude, we Namibians are doomed; we will never be competitive in the modern world.
It is of little use if our government spends its tax money on 'toy'-projects, as your editor said in his last editorial, and the people walk backwards into the 'stone age'. This is not only a Namibian problem; it is an African problem because in Africa, only five per cent of Africans make use of the Internet (www).
In Asia, it is more than 70 per cent of the population that has arrived in the 21stcentury Â– and the gap is widening! Look at where we stand in comparison to Asia!
One writer proposed that we have to put the right to free or at least cheap access to the net (meaning, it has to be affordable by even the poor everywhere in our country) into our constitution and try to make it an universal human right.
Yes, that will do the trick. The technology to make this work even in the far away rural areas we do have.
Even where the people have no electrical power, the computer could be powered by sun-power, by a sun panel and credit should be available for the user to buy one. Cheap computers are also available; one does not need a modern 'powerhouse', a fancy PC to get connected to the world today. A 2ndhand PC would do just fine!
But as long as this technology is in the hands of a monopoly in Namibia, not much will change. Prices are far too high, they are three times higher than in Europe Â– prices are the first hurdle we, the people, have to overcome.
Imagine a Namibia in which every citizen has access to the net; imagine ours a country that would then be competitive in no time; imagine the economical boost and a people that could study at home; could use the huge knowledge base of this whole world, a knowledge books alone can never provide!
Imagine what this could do for our education system, which gets more expensive by the day! Imagine, let your imagination wander and then go and demand this at the coming Swapo congress and at your next elections ballot box! Nothing is at present more urgent, nothing more valuable than the 'free' access to the Internet.