Communications in Ethiopia

=History=

The first telegraph line in Ethiopia was constructed in the years 1897 - 1899 between the cities of Harar and the capital Addis Ababa. This was extended in 1904 by a line that ran from Addis Ababa through Tigray into Eritrea and to Massawa; and the next year by a line again from Addis Ababa to Gore in the province of Illubabor and Jimma in Kaffa.

The first telephones were brought by Ras Makonnen from Italy in 1890, and connected between the Palace and the Imperial treasury; the sound of disembodied voices frightened the local priests, who thought it was the work of demons. The Emperor Menelik II responded to their protests with disdain, and later used the telephone to give orders to his provincial governors. [Chris Proutky, "Empress Taytu and Menelik II: Ethiopia 1883-1910" (Trenton: The Red Sea Press, 1986), pp. 237ff.] Emperor Haile Selassie had begun the process of introducing radio transmitters to the country for civilian and military use in the years before the Italian invasion. [Richard Pankhurst, "Economic History of Ethiopia (1800 - 1935)" (Addis Ababa: Haile Selassie I University Press, 1968), pp. 341, 606.]

Current status

According to the Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC), the average rural inhabitant of Ethiopia has to walk 30 kilometers to the nearest phone. The ETC announced 7 September 2006 a program to improve national coverage, and reduce the average distance to 5 kilometers. [ [http://www.waltainfo.com/EnNews/2006/Sep/07Sep06/17723.htm ETC to make 10,000 rural kebeles beneficiaries of telephone services] (Walta)] As of 2006, 866,700 cellular phones and 725,000 main line phones were in use. [https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/et.html CIA World Factbook] .] The telephone system consists of open wire and microwave radio relay system adequate for government use. Domestic systems are open wire; microwave radio relay; radio communication in the HF, VHF, and UHF frequencies; two domestic satellites provide the national trunk service. International systems are open wire to Sudan and Djibouti; microwave radio relay to Kenya and Djibouti; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Pacific Ocean).

The Ethiopian dial plan changed on September 17, 2005. City codes ("i.e.", internal prefixes) changed from two digits to three (or, from outside Ethiopia, one digit to two). Phone numbers changed from six digits to seven. A web-based program which converts old telephone numbers to new numbers is available [http://www.ethioindex.com/convert/ here] .

As of 2007, there were 89 internet hosts. As of 2005, there were 164,000 internet users. Ethiopia's country code (TLD) is .et.

Notes

See also

* Ethiopian Telecommunication Agency
* Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation
* ETV (Ethiopia)
* Media of Ethiopia


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