In 2000, Nigeria reportedly had less than 200,000 internet users. The number grew to about 200,000 in 2001; about 400,000 in 2002; jumped to 1.61 million in 2003 and, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission, there were 1.8 million internet users in 2004. The most recent figure (2007) was 10 million internet users and the current growth trend has been further helped by the increased availability of telecommunication services across Nigeria. Apart from the huge growth in the number of users, what has captured my attention is the fact that many of these users go out of their way to get — or stay — connected. They have had to: stay back at work, visit cyber cafes at odd hours, endure plug-and-pray services and spend a large part of their monthly income on expensive access. Also, many have found a way around the problem of electrical power instability.After a few weeks of discussions with Dr. Y. Z. Yau of the Centre for Information Technology and Development, the “Digital Lifestyle of Connected Nigerians” survey was launched today to explore what Nigerians (who are currently resident in Nigeria) are doing to get (and/or stay) online, what internet services they use and other important questions. For example, how many computers does the average connected Nigerian have? What internet service provider(s) are they subscribed to? What do they do when power supply is cut off? Where do they consider their primary place of access: home, office or public cafe? The survey, which is available through this link (or by visiting http://is.gd/z0As) and requires only seven (7) minutes of the respondent’s time, will be open until June 30, 2009.
If you know any Nigerian who has access to the internet, please ask them to complete the survey. I must thank our Research Admin Lead, Oluwakorede Asuni, for the key role he’s playing in getting the word to the right people. I will also use the opportunity of the physical meetings I have for the week to spread the word, and that includes the Nigerian Finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup which holds at the Centre for Information Technology and Systems (University of Lagos) at 9am on Thursday, May 14; MISSPIN Ambassadors‘ retreat holding later in the day; Microsoft Nigeria/PIN’s Friday visit to Laureates College in commemoration of the 2009 World Information Society Day (WISD); and another WISD event at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, on May 17.