The rise and fall of Ghana’s biggest Internet Café
INTERNET| Feb. 14, 2013, 7:18 p.m.
By Nana Appiah Acquaye, Accra, Ghana
It was the toast of every Ghanaian, the pride of Ghana. It brought the internet closer to the ordinary people and offered new opportunities and hope to countless of young and vibrant youths whose dreams were to be ICT gurus.
Busy Internet as a whole, since its inception in Ghana during the early days of the internet, has served the city with its unmatched internet and secretarial services. It was the first Internet Service Provider (ISP) in Ghana to have an opened an internet café that served customers both local and foreign, and also provided business incubators for up coming business ventures with entrepreneurial ideas and visions.
A former staff member of Busy Internet, who spoke to BiztechAfrica in Accra, noted that the current Country Director of Google Ghana, Estelle Sowah Akrofi, who was then General Manager of Busy Internet, encouraged innovative ideas and creative thinking among her staff. Among other initiatives, she organised a series of orientation workshops for entire management team, which tended to create a positive outlook on the operations of the then young company, says the former employee.
Due to its novelty factor and ingenuity, Busy Internet grew from strength to strength, becoming the talk of the town and a household name. It was a judged the Best Internet Service Provider for three conservative in Ghana. Its internet cafe in Accra was the place to be seen.
Sadly, after a decade of excellence, customers at the internet cafe say Busy Internet is losing its grip on its excellent customer care.
The once-preferred internet café now suffers intermittent cuts in its internet connectivity. Malfunctioning desk top computers with Arabic keyboards , poorly maintained USB connections and head piece cables are some of the challenges one is likely to witness when you visit once Ghana’s most celebrated internet café. Many customers, especially foreign nationals, express frustration that they are not getting that quality service and best of treatment or customer care from attendants at the café.
Although the growth of the mobile internet has brought the internet closer to many, and fewer people need now go to any café to surf the net, the slowdown of internet cafe business brings a change for the youths who once met there to 'hang out' with friends, or for the businessman who saw them as the perfect meeting place, where business transactions and online conferencing took place.
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A new report from the Alliance for Affordable Internet shows that the price of broadband remains prohibitive for billions in developing and emerging countries, with women and rural dwellers hardest hit.
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