INTERNET IN BENIN
INTERNET IN BENIN
The development of information and communications technologies remains a major objective for the Government of Benin.
However, while the use of the information carried by the Internet and ICT is growing in many activities and becomes a decisive factor in sustainable socio-economic development, the contribution of the Internet as a tool in the development of the digital economy in Benin remains to be demonstrated.
The digital economy, which includes telecommunications, the Internet and other industries that use them as core or support for their activities, is the most dynamic component of the global economy. It has a growth rate of up to twice that of the other components of the national economy in most developed countries.
In such a context, the development of Internet becomes crucial as it generates the development and growth of other sectors, and participates to the production of goods and information services. Moreover it creates job opportunities.
ISOCEL DEMOCRATISES INTERNET ACCESS
ISOCEL, an Internet service provides active on the local and sub-regional market, since 2008 has provided broadband connection to individuals, SMEs and large Enterprises. The company also provides digital data transmission solutions, server hosting, interconnection of remote sites and other customized solutions to cater every customer’s requirements.
ISOCEL network coverage is within greater Cotonou and in other key areas like Abomey-Calavi, Cocotomey, Ekpe, Porto-Novo, Seme and Krake. The company also has a presence in the key communes of Benin (Porto-Novo, Ouidah, Savalou, Djougou, Save, Masse, Sakete, Ifangi, Pobe, Adja-Ouere, Onigbolo and Ketou). In addition, the strong partnership with the biggest mobile operators allows ISOCEL to provide Internet and data services to dedicated customers to any areas in Benin where mobile operators have a presence. ISOCEL continues its efforts to reach other areas as the market becomes mature.
Through its international points of presence and its partnerships with various operators, ISOCEL can also provide services in some West African countries (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal) and Europe. The company has established its connections to major exchange points in Europe like Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX), London Internet Exchange (LINX) and Neutral Internet Exchange (NL-IX) to peer and exchange IP traffic. Peering with International Exchange Points allowed ISOCEL to route traffic to major CDN providers and to other networks.
This means that instead of passing all IP traffic to its IP transit, the traffic will now be directly routed through these IXes allowing faster response time and cost-effective Internet services to residential and business subscribers. Joining these Internet Exchange Points has delivered advantages e.g. improved quality of service and lower latency to destination hosts.
Two separate submarine cables provided by SAT3 and ACE connect ISOCEL’s network in Benin to the Internet. This vast infrastructure made ISOCEL one of the few if not the first Internet service provider in Sub Saharan region of Africa to peer with Tier 1 Internet service providers in the world. Its customers can now enjoy their Internet connection from their households and/or offices. Having two different submarine cables in the country gave ISOCEL the ability to ensure redundancy to the Internet.
Thus, the “ISOSPOT” project is the first phase of an extensive investment for us to build new access networks and deliver broadband Internet to residential clients and to businesses.
“ISOSPOT” THE LARGEST WI-FI NETWORK OF COTONOU
ISOSPOT is a new product designed by ISOCEL, which facilitates Internet access via Wi-Fi in a specific coverage area. The first area covered by the network “ISOSPOT” is the area of Fidjrossè. We have created a public local access network in this coverage area in several square kilometers; a hundred micro-stations or hotspots were installed in electric poles at about every fifty meters away. Subsequently, the network “ISOSPOT” will gradually extend to other areas of Cotonou and its surroundings.
WHICH TECHNOLOGY DID ISOCEL USE FOR THE CREATION OF ISOSPOT?
The system was built around Wi-Fi Technology. This technology was chosen because of the popularity of the technology. Today, Wi-Fi is almost available on all Smartphones, tablets, and laptops and desktops computer.
At the moment, ISOCEL is using the 802.11N revision of Wi-Fi. As soon as the newer revision of Wi-Fi that is 802.11AC will become feasible, then it will be implemented as well for the ISOSPOT. The system is also designed to accommodate other technologies like LTE or other technologies that may emerge in the future. Fiber backbone is also considered as soon as the regulatory and the electric company allow ISOCEL to deploy fiber in the electric poles. This will provide higher network capacity that will make the service even faster.
The current Wi-Fi technology does not allow full mobility yet. This is the reason the company is only committing a nomadic service. Nomadic service means the ability of users to use the service as they move from one place to another. The service may cut momentarily as they move from one place to another. However, many mobile devices today are able to do mobility without noticing that they are moving from one station to another. In the future release of Wi-Fi, full mobility will be expected. ISOSPOT will then be able to offer full mobile Internet service.
WHO CAN USE “ISOSPOT”?
This service is meant for all users who have an ISOCEL customer account and who wish to have Internet access at home, at work or on the move, without any volume limitation and from any Smartphone, tablet or laptop that has Wi-Fi. Customers can also use a CPE (Customer Premise Equipment) that they can buy from an ISOCEL business center or from our Point of Sale.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A CPE?
The CPE (Customer Premise Equipment), is meant for customers who do not have a strong signal inside their house to improve the signal quality of the wireless link. The device is also used to share the connection among two or more users from one household. The CPE becomes the home and or gateway router of the customer.
The CPE is meant to be “self-install”. This means that the customer just needs to buy the CPE from an ISOCEL business center or from our Point of Sale and install it in their home. Once the customer has correctly installed the CPE, it will connect automatically to the ISOSPOT network.
HOW TO CONNECT?
Customers can benefit from ISOSPOT by:
After following these 5 steps, the user can start to surf the Internet. Very soon, ISOCEL will allow anyone to register online and create their own profile and buy the service conveniently using their mobile money or from the nearest ISOSPOT Point of Sale; thus making it easier for all users to connect to the internet.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Selecting and activating the service is very simple. ISOCEL has different packages at a very affordable price suitable to the needs in specific to the speed that each subscriber desires. There are three types of packages at a very affordable price:
There are several Points of Sales to buy these packages.
WHAT WILL BE THE NEXT STEP FOR “ISOSPOT”?
By the end of the first phase, the “ISOSPOT” network will be deployed rapidly in several other areas of Cotonou and its surroundings so that all users can benefit from this service. The main focus is to develop the “ISOSPOT” network to the working-class neighborhoods of Cotonou. Most of the time, these areas suffer of an unsatisfying and difficult access to Internet. The mission of ISOCEL is to provide excellent Internet access to all the citizens of Benin and its tourists.