Authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and internet service providers have rejected responsibility for the recent surge in the price of data services in the country .
From a recent finding, citizens pay more to have access to the Internet from Orange, Airtel or Vodacom in the DRC.
The prices of data among the main operators of telephones in the country have doubled and tripled overnight making it difficult for some consumers to afford them.
I believe it is a policy, just like the one given that led to a total black-out on January 20, where we were severely cut off from the Internet.
Some consumers in DRC suspect authorities of planning to prevent citizens from exchanging information regarding the upcoming election as reason for the surge in internet cost.
The tense political atmosphere in the DRC has been blamed on President Joseph Kabila’s intention to run for a third term in office.
“I believe it is a policy, just like the one given that led to a total black-out on January 20, where we were severely cut off from the Internet, I think the policy is backward. We can see the elections are approaching, and it has taken a shape we do not like. So if we see someone we do not like, things we do not like, we can not directly share on the Internet,” said Ezbora Lubamba, a web designer.
However, DRC’s Minister of Telecommunications, Thomas Luhaka rejected the report as false explaining that no government would put up a digital barrier for political reasons.
He said he had requested an investigation into the matter.
“Those who believe, and I have already heard this, that it is a government policy to increase the price of the Internet as a digital barrier, to prevent people from accessing the Internet for political reasons, this is false,” he said.
A member of the majority party, Patrick Muyaya, called on the Government to restore order in the sector.
“It may well be accepted that operators want to change the prices, but we cannot accept it, sometimes surfing increases up to 500%, and we have to ask,what is happening?”
Mobile network operators said they do are not to blame as pressure from taxes force them to adjust their prices.