Government-owned telecoms = fewer posts

Regular readers may have noticed that Violin in a Void has had fewer posts recently. My standard schedule is three posts per week – two reviews and one Up for Review post announcing upcoming publications on my tbr pile. Lately, it’s been more like one post per week.

Part of the reason for this is that I’ve been busy with a few other projects. This hasn’t made a huge impact though, so I’m still keeping up with my reading. The main reason this blog has grown quiet is something I can’t control – my internet connection. For those who don’t know, I live in Ethiopia and I’ll be here for another two years. There is only one telecommunications service provider – the government-owned Ethio Telecom or EthioTel. And Ethiopia’s authoritarian government is less concerned with connecting its people than it is with keeping tabs on them.

Ethio Telecom logo

This article from the Economist gives a good overview of the current situation: the government is keeping a tight hold on its “cash cow” and making deals with Chinese telecoms to “preserve state dominance” and get “more control over its citizens”. Bypassing online censors can get you thrown in jail for 15 years. Two years ago a student was arrested for showing customers in an internet cafe how to make online calls.

My partner and I are internet junkies, so we got the best package we could. What this means is that, on a good day, our internet connection meets basic requirements in terms of speed and accessibility (although some sites are permanently blocked). On a bad day, the connection is so slow it’s useless.

Whatever EthioTel has been up to lately has made the service even worse. There are days when I can’t access half the websites I use regularly, and WordPress is usually one of the sites that get cut off. Hence, fewer posts.

Even if I have something written, I may have to wait until I can access WordPress to post it. I even lost my connection completely while writing this, and I’m wondering if it’s because I accessed that article on the Economist.

Anyway, readers, publishers, please forgive the shortage of posts. I’m still reading and writing, I’m not planning to stop, I’m just a bit disconnected. Hopefully the situation will improve soon.