An internet provider has reported that several residents of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu are experiencing a “culture shock” due to the implementation of fibre optic services.
Until this point, dial-up access or satellite links were the only ways to access the internet. Earlier in 2016, a threat from Islamist extremists.
al-Shabab, a group that is linked to al-Qaeda issued a command in January for the cease of internet services, stating that those who did not conform would be perceived as “working with the enemy” and would be dealt with accordingly.
Although the group was driven out of the capital in August 2011, it still has control over many towns and rural areas near the south and centre of Somalia, where a rigorous version of Sharia has been imposed.
As a response to this threat, 3G networks across the nation were shut down, but the scheme to implement fibre optic cable services has not stopped within the capital – the fibre optic connections have only been made available in Mogadishu.
People from surrounding towns have crowded in hotels and internet cafes in order to experience the quick services, where some got to see social networking sites and video platforms such as YouTube for the first time.
The difference in speed was reported to have been compared to the difference between “day and night”.
The development was also said to have been a relief for those who had recently returned from the diaspora; and was a huge boost for the country that is recovering from more than 20 years of war.
Furthermore, it was described as being a “culture shock” for those who had never left the country.
All aspects of life are said to be positively affected by the change. Each time a fibre optic cable is connected to a country, they see their GDP increase because of the decrease in costs of communication.
However, the present security circumstances will prevent the implementation of fibre optic services in other areas of the country.
Somalia has had clan-based dictators, rival politicians and Islamist extremists fight for control over the country since 1991. This has allowed lawlessness to proliferate. The government has been backed by the UN and an African Union force in battling al-Shabab, as the group wants to establish an Islamic state in Somalia.