The repealing of Net Neutrality by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States brought a lot of attention to the issues of regulating the internet. Does Zimbabwe need Net Neutrality?
Here in Zimbabwe, the creation of the Cyber Security, Threat Detection and Mitigation ministry to govern social media wasn’t well received by members of the public. With regards to internet regulation, Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) Head of ICT Tichafa Majuru said that the country should strike a balance.
By Pearson Mbendera
“If we look at the criticism on issues to do with regulation of the internet, what the advocates say is that there mustn’t be any regulation of the internet. But then you come here and say there must be regulations about net neutrality in particular, then you say ah there has to be a regulation, so we need to look at all those things and try to strike a balance,” said Majuru.
With a lot of people accessing the internet in a limited capacity via social media bundles and having more of a partial internet experience, it even limits the capacity of network service providers to even throttle some websites, thus rendering regulation counter intuitive.
It’s not every website that can be affected by the lack of regulation of the internet. Those that require fast internet like streaming services will be affected.
Even when people have data bundles, a lot of times they don’t even get to use them on streaming. There are a lot of people who cry of low internet speeds here in Zimbabwe, an issue that doesn’t require Net Neutrality.
While no one would love to hear that their internet bundles are being throttled by their network provider and that they are not able to enjoy some websites just because their network provider has something against them.
We have to first address the issue of internet access and prices before we can talk more about internet regulation in Zimbabwe. While there may be issues with regards to regulations that are need in the country, focusing on them now will over overshadow other internet related queries that the country should deal with first.
While there are people who will argue that internet is expensive here in Zimbabwe, the issues of unemployment and poverty stemming from the economic issues in the country. Addressing those issues will even go a long way in addressing internet usage issues in this country.