Page last updated at 17:01 GMT, Tuesday, 15 September 2009 18:01 UK

'Where I live there is no radio, TV, or mobile'

Is the internet your lifeline, or your nightmare? People across Africa have been sharing their stories with BBC News. Click here to send your own story.

Garikai Dzoma
The need for internet in Zimbabwe cannot be over emphasised
Garikai Dzoma, Zimbabwe

Where I live, there is no radio, mobile phone or TV reception.

The internet comes as a solace.

But there are no digital lines, no 3G or WIFI coverage. Fibre and UHF are foreign words to us.

The only option available is analogue dial up. This limits my speed to only 24kbps which means I cannot even listen to BBC world service.

I am a 21 year old student with the University of Zimbabwe.

The internet helps me to keep abreast with events in the world at large.

Zimbabwe is lagging behind in the broadband area and whatever options that are available are prohibitively expensive.

For example, VSAT the leading operators, charge around $300 per month for a 64kbps connection with 500 mg data.

In the view that most people earn less than $100 per month, this is not an option.

'Counter revolutionary'

The need for the internet in Zimbabwe cannot be over emphasised.

Given this country's poor reputation in the freedom of expression the blogger-sphere comes as a much needed relief.

Map of Juliasdale, Zimbabwe
As a result there has been an explosion in the number of online newspapers covering Zimbabwe thus bypassing the notorious media regulation authority that is reluctant to license anyone seen as "counter-revolutionary."

With a lot of our relatives in diaspora, it is also a good and cheap way of keeping in touch.

As a student the internet has helped me with my studies.

And speed is something required if one is going to get the fullest out of the global village concept that is the internet.

Here are some of your comments:

Here in the interior of DR Congo where I am now the only way I can be informed of what's happening in the world is through internet. There is no newspaper here. We only rely with our mobile phone. I am using 3G mobile, its faster & cheaper but I cannot really fully surf the net. I am just contented in reading news & sending "little" messages. In the village, only priests & religious sisters are using internet. Most of the people does not even have a single idea about it. Internet have not conquered yet the whole world. Even in the capital city Kinshasa, the internet connection is still very slow. WWW means World Wide WAIT, not WEB.

Dondion, Masamuna, Democratic Republic of Congo

The day we had internet connection in our office in Murewa, Zimbabwe, life has improved significantly. Rozaria Memorial Trust runs an HIV and AIDS Care programme reaching 5,000 people in 29 villages. We support and partner over 200 HIV Positive women, children and a few men. We enjoy the above benefits, though our one and single computer, for a whole pool of staff and volunteers. None of the 4 schools and 2 local health centres we collaborate with have a computer, and less than 10% have telephone or electricity. There the women and children do not have direct access to this technology due to infrastructure issues. Again, our network is just too fragile. We at times go for weeks without internet at all; and when there is a connection its just too slow that it takes a long time to download an attachment. We then avoid anything with pictures etc, and this limits our possibilities of using the various social networking tools. Communications and technology is crucial to enabling our work, but we continue to call for an investment in proper infrastructure; for cheaper access to equipment for community groups, and training opportunities on use of multiple technologies including mobile telephony.
Kudakwashe Dizha, Murewa, Zimbabwe

As one of the 80% of Africans who are in the rural areas I know the so called digital revolution in Africa is not imminent and the excitement about the amazing life changing capacities of the mobile phone is overdone. We need to add value to non digital communication than concentrate on expensive equipment. My fear is the poor will stay poor and uninformed. I offer a possible way out through the Leo network of noticeboards - innovation that one can adopt for a rural community.
Zack Matere, Eldoret, Kenya

Do you live in a rural area? Do you use the internet for study and education? Is your connection fast enough? Send us your comments.

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