There were 3 internet providers in Ghana: Network Computer Systems, the first on the market, followed by Africa Online and Ghana Internet Services, All three protocols (TCP/IP, SMTP/POP3, UUCP) are available.
There are 4 store & forward email only providers using UUCP (Fidonet, Healthnet, AAU). The latter 3 download mail from external gateways a max of 3 times daily.
Basic structure is that all( 1st 3 listed) charge a one time registration fee then a monthly charge for usage. some offer graduated usage depending on how much you pay say 10 hrs browsing/month + email. Others offer full unlimited services ( email, web, ftp, gopher, newsgroups, telnet etc) for a flat monthly charge)
Speeds of 19.2kbps are quite normal - speeds of 28-31kpbs are also not uncommon. All the provider (1st 3) have leased circuits from Ghana Telecom at 64kpbs. NCS however has 2 satellite dishes (128kbps) for inward and outwrd traffic bypassing the Ghana telecom system.
The other 4 providers are email only services. They charge something like 20,000 cedis - 50,000 cedis for monthly access. They are generally time lagged systems - store and forward. mail for external users are put on/retrieved from the internet at designated times of the day ( say 3 or 4 times daily). Most of this latter group are seriously working to upgrade their links to a real online system in collaboration with some of the 1st 3 providers or on their own.
You can get affiliate email access thru Kumasi and Cape Coast Universties as well. They are identical to the UG fidonet
Please note however that they are all changing to go fully online in the coming months with one or more of the other ISPs or on their "independent own"
Ghana has been admitted as a full chapter of the Internet Society. Dr Quaynor of NCS is a member of the Executive Committee on the Internet Society.
As the tel exchanges get improved to digital and there are now very few exchanges which are not, the problem would even be further reduced.
Nevertheless, the problem in Ghana is not exactly the telephone lines but access to computers. For many years computers were heavily taxed and that didn't help our technological advance. It is now duty free to bring in a computer and that is seriously engaging the attention of prospective netters etc.. many schools including first cycle schools are getting "computerised" where 1 or 2 PCs are being installed in a computer centre for tecahing purposes.. It would not take too long to see them on the net at least for email.
A new packet swith provider has just come on stream in Ghana - DATATEL - a joint venture limited liability between British Telecom and Ghana telecom. They already have 5 or so nodes in Ghana - Tema, Accra central, Acccra North, Kumasi, Takoradi. They will provide x.25 protocol based data commnunications links to businesses. The network will be connected to subscriber user terminal points by leased lines or by Wireless patches. Maybe this wolud further facilitae the effort of those alrady doing So well to make connectivity something we can take for granted etc
There are quite a number of initiatives also brewing to further develop internet conectivity some of it with funding for the universities, public services etc and I am sure that 1996 would be a threshold year for internet connectivity in Ghana at least.
The facility is limited to Legon (Balme Library) at the moment. We expect other Departments to be connected soon. The other Universities of Ghana will also be on the net very soon. You will be informed of further developments.
Message received and dissemeninated whether private or official, will
attract a small charge. We shall know the rate when we receive our initial
bill from GHASTINET, our current host. We shall keep you informed.
For further Information and Account, Contact :
University of Ghana
P. O. Box 24
E-Mail : Barfi@ug.gn.apc.org.
It will be used till a permanent telebit modem is connected in some few weeks. Interested netters are welcomed to use the address to send messages to Cape Varsand perhaps, adjacent communities.