Internet - In Brief


- Madagascar is to receive a boost to its satellite Internet services after Gulfsat Madagascar inked a long-term deal with the satellite provider O3b Networks for a new service aimed at increasing infrastructure.

- Agence Ecofin quotes Tidjane Deme, the operations manager for Google Africa (Francophone West), as saying that the ‘lack of status of ISPs [internet service providers]’ in Senegal is acting as a bar to investment in the country’s telecoms sector. At a meeting with ISPs on 27 November, Deme argued that the fact that local laws do not allow ISPs to deploy their own infrastructure – state telecom laws do not once mention the word internet and as such, ISPs are classed as providers of value added services (VAS) – means no investment, and in turn, no competition. He points to the fact that in 2009 there were nine active ISPs in the country, and today there remain only two. The Google Africa official has questioned the government of Senegal on the need for a better internet policy and to redress the situation of one firm – Sonatel – having a dominant position in the market.

- Researchers have launched a free interactive tool that can be used to identify nearly 200 weeds that harm rice production in Africa. The tool, which has been launched by agricultural research institutions AfricaRice and the Centre for International Cooperation in Agronomic Research for Development (CIRAD), can be accessed online and offline on laptops and CD-ROMs or as an application on smartphones and tablet computers. People such as researchers, students and farmers can use the tool to identify weed species that affect the rice farming lowlands in East and West Africa.