Here’s a kooky idea: imagine if, when a big internet service provider raised fees or lowered download limits, its customers started a class-action suit. Here in North America, said providers would be getting sued every couple of months.
Things are obviously very different in Ghana, where customers of Vodafone are looking to do exactly that. An online campaign has sprung up to take the African country’s biggest ISP to court if it goes ahead with prices increases and new data caps.
According to Ghana Web, thousands of internet users there are angry about the company raising the price of fixed broadband by more than 50 per cent, and with the imposition of a 15-gigabyte usage cap, which is a big change from the unlimited usage previously available.
More than 2,500 people have joined the “Stop Vodafone from Capping Broadband” group while a further 500-plus have signed an online petition with the intention of joining a class-action The aggrieved users plan to present their action to their industry regulator, the National Communication Authority, and the Ministry of Communication. If they don’t get satisfaction there, they say that legal action will follow.
Vodafone Ghana CEO Kyle Whitehill says the increased fees and lowered usage thresholds are necessary to help offset investments in the company’s network and to curb over-usage by data hogs. His response could be (and probably is) cribbed from what we’ve heard on this side of the Atlantic:
“The cap is therefore a strategy deployed to ensure efficient management of the system by reducing the number of people who consume high capacities for less so that more capacity would be freed to boost the experience of the overwhelming majority,” he said.
Hmmm. Maybe things aren’t so different in Ghana after all.