I wrote this during the fight against SOPA. However, like many other posts, I did not get around to publishing it. I recently came across Google’s take action campaign that is against the plot by governments to sign new treaties this December that will regulate the Internet more.
Mind you, I did not say should be but ‘has to be’ from the view of the political class. I certainly do not want the Internet censored or more regulated.
A few thousand years ago, when the first structures of society where being put in place, the deal struck to prevent a physical society with anarchy was to centralize ‘power’ with the state (largest independent political unit) and then have representatives of the people run the state.
Fast forward a few centuries, a couple of wars, commerce, etc and the state became bigger, much bigger. Nations were born. The centralized power became greater. The chance to represent the Nation became smaller and the stakes became higher.
A bigger state meant a massive population which would be harder to control therefore it became necessary to control what they knew and how they could operate. Books, TV, Telephone, Radio, International travel etc came along and tried to scuttle the status quo. But the political class was smart enough to take advantage of it early and used it as a tool to control on a larger scale.
Then the Internet ‘happened’.
It was ignored, then ridiculed and before anyone could say “facebook”, societies of 1 Billion (the third largest in the world, certainly the most diverse) got formed. Information began moving overground (Twitter) and underground (BBM,WhatsApp). Internet companies started knowing more about citizens that the nations who gave them their passports. Transactions and currencies that could not be monitored started springing up.
It is ‘obvious’ this new power and control is too dangerous/important to be left to ‘ordinary’ people. The political class have to take it back.
So they’ve come first by passing the laws that will enable them covertly take back power. Countries like North Korea, Iran, China are being straightforward about it. America is trying to be smarter, they’re waving the copyright flag, child porn flag, the terrorism flag, then they will raise the victory flag.
Shall we let them win?
I know my post might sound incongruous. you may do yourself a favour and read The Fundamentals of Political Philosophy then watch The century of Self
Random prediction: In the next decade, the political structure of society will start changing fundamentally. Corporations will own the state and the national ‘borders’ will become more digital, dynamic and I dare say, collapse. Currency will become much more deregulated
This Internet thing has really fucked things up.
Please forgive typos…
There are two things I’ve got to give to Globacom, Nigeria’s second national telecommunication carrier. There are bloody spammers as well as innovators in the telco space – at least when it comes to billing. They ‘sachetized’ the phone call with their per second billing.
So when I heard their recent innovation in the billing space, I was pleasantly surprised. However, what surprised me more was the absence of coverage in the ‘mainstream’ startup news space. (from previous understanding, such news does not ‘pay the bills’). But I digress…
So what is this ‘big deal’ innovation?
Shared mobile Internet subscription.
How it works it simple, you can give anyone on the GLO network access to your Internet bundle. You know, just like you can make your phone a hotspot and ‘share internet”, but this time, NATIONWIDE!
Think about that for a moment.
There are many ramifications of this type of pricing/sharing feature.
1. Multiple devices become activated. Before now, except you had a device with hotspot ability, the economics of enabling internet on all your devices made no sense. Paying for anything less than 7 GB per SIM card would mean you would be paying an unfairly ridiculous rate for internet access.
So for instance, if you had an iPad and a phone, you obviously consumed less internet on your phone. Therefore you would buy say 7GB at about $50 ($7/GB) for your iPad and another $20 for 1.5 GB ($13/GB). Look at the rates and see that it made it painful for people to have more than one connected device especially when you did not need all of the 7GB bandwidth for the iPad.
Now, with this feature, you buy at the better rate (the 7GB package) and share on all your devices without feeling ‘cheated’.
2. Nuclear family: The bad economics of buying internet access also affected internet socialism at home. Now spouse and kids do not need to wait for Daddy or Mummy to return before they can use the internet. Buy at the best rate and share for everyone.
3. Far-flung family: To me, this is the most impactful. The other scenarios has at least an alternative. you could use your phone as a hotspot (if it had one) or buy the $150 MiFi device. But for the sibling or family member in another state, there was no alternative. Right now, I can ignore momsie’s insistence on “no need for internet on the phone” and give her access so we can use one of the numerous IMs to communicate.
The economics of having a family/company internet account is AMAZING. approx. $110 for 30GB ($3.5/GB)
Of course there are limitations presently as this can only work if everyone is using a GLO device. Not a problem for data devices (iPad and Laptop).
Another limitation is that you can pair only about 5 devices. I’m sure that can be sorted out in the future. I am imagining what this would do for internet penetration when one account can be use to service a school.
In general, what this means is that there will be more internet consumption and more importantly, deeper penetration. People that had a good reason not to use the net now have less reason not to.
I think that is a pretty big deal.
Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post. Blogging does not pay ANY bill of mine. I have not used this service yet. I currently use Etisalat which is blazing fast but finishes quickly. Previously, I was also positive about Mobitel until they became ‘not too good’
Please pardon typos, I just don’t see them.
I am doing a music startup and the first comment that comes usually is. “But Nigeria has low internet penetration”. Here’s the graph I try to explain I’m working with. Source.
BTW, adding Kenya to the mix is not to kindle any East Side-West Side rivalry but to tell the investors and entrepreneurs, “when you have finished ‘testing the waters’ in Kenya and you are ready for prime time, you know where to visit.”
Tomorrow, Nigerian Internet Entrepreneurs will hold a meetup in Lekki, Lagos. It has been a while since my announcing our launch and this is the first activity we are holding. The response to this meetup has been amazing! We sold out (40 tickets) in 4 days! It shows Nigerians are ready.
We have really good stuff planned for the ecosystem, we just hope the support needed will come through. I am really looking forward to meeting the guys (where are the ladies pls? ) who have been making things happen here despite the rugged conditions.
Nigerians have a lot of potential, we just have to convert it to kinetic.
See you all tomorrow.