A few days ago part of the Techzim team was in Bulawayo for the ZOL Startup Challenge Meetup that was held at NUST.
While the City of Kings provided a warm reception and an encouraging response from the vibrant tech ecosystem, the quality of internet service we experienced left a lot to be desired.
Over a three day period we were not able to get a stable internet connection from 4 different locations (NUST Main Campus, Bulawayo CBD, Southwold and Hillside). The best connection we experienced was from the ZOL Spot that was setup at the NUST Campus for the Startup Challenge event.
After struggling with our primary internet service (Econet’s 3G Mobile WiFi) we carried out a quick survey among a handful of Bulawayo residents, including startups, as we tried to figure out which provider would be the best substitute.
The majority of respondents shot down options such as the different mobile operators’ 3G service (connection hardly stable) and Powertel (not enough coverage throughout the city) and ZOL(unsatisfactory customer service). TelOne’s ADSL did receive positive reviews from users who felt that it provided the more stable connection.
We could not get any perspectives on how well the Africom, uMAX and YoAfrica services perform throughout the city, although we will try to establish this in later and more thorough service reviews.
With such a landscape the question is how the average startup is meant to operate optimally? Is this challenge with internet services the normal order of business in the city and if so what are the ISPs doing about it?
We would love to here from Bulawayo residents which service provider has the best deal in the city. Are there any areas that just happen to suffer from poor connection from several providers?
Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.