MAURITIUS: GOVT WANTS ADSL TO BE MORE DEMOCRATIC BY REDUCING COSTS
The new government is reviewing a number of measures that could bring down the cost of Internet access and extend the use of high-speed ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) connections even if this means reining in certain monopolies.
The main measure being looked at would in fact involve bringing an end to state control over the South Africa Far East (SAFE) intercontinental fiber optic cable.
The public operator Mauritius Telecom (MT) holds the exclusive right to operate the under-water cable until 2007, a situation that it exploits by charging high fees.
Removing this right from MT would almost certainly lead to a lowering of prices for high-speed Internet access.
However, this possibility is currently causing something of a legal-financial headache as MT has invested a billion rupees (almost 18 billion CFA francs) in its capacity as a member of the consortium that manages SAFE. So as a first step MT would have to be compensated.
There are only 70,000 Internet users in Mauritius and only 3,000 of these have an ADSL connection, the reason being that a high-speed connection costs about 1,000 rupees.