Telecommunications In Burkina Faso
Communications in Burkina Faso are limited due to the low penetration of electricity, even in major cities. Use of telecommunications is extremely low. According to the International Telecommunication Union, in 2004 there were only 479,000 telephone subscribers in the country of nearly 11 million people, with .061 main lines per 1000 inhabitants. This number climbs to 42.05 main lines/1000 in Ouagadougou, but still a very low penetration rate.
The Burkinabé government, in its telecommunications development strategy, has stated its aims to make telecommunications a universal service accessible to all. A large portion of this strategy is the privatization of the National Telecommunications Office (ONATEL), with additional focus on a rural telephony promotion project.
Internet use is also low in the country, with only 40 users per 10,000 inhabitants in 2004, and just over 53,000 users total, according to the International Telecommunication Union. The sector is beginning to improve following installation of a 22 Mbit/s fiber optic international link, a vast improvement over the previous 128 kbit/s link. Secondary access nodes are beginning to appear in the major cities, and cybercafés are providing Internet access to a broader spectrum of end users.
Mobile phone technology has skyrocketed in Burkina Faso in the last decade, growing from 2,700 subscribers in 1998 to 398,000 in 2004. Mobile phone subscribers now represent 83% of all telephone users in the country. (International Telecommunication Union, 2006). The mobile telephone segment has benefitted from a competitive environment between operators Celtel, Télécel Faso, and Telmob, which has pushed rates down even as density and coverage area increased.
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