The Zone9 case was repeatedly stalled by the courts throughout 2014, leaving the bloggers in pre-trial detention for over six months as of late-2014.Meanwhile, two online radio journalists were arrested and detained for a week without charges in August 2013, and the prominent dissident blogger, Eskinder Nega, and award-winning journalist, Reeyot Alemu, continue to serve lengthy prison sentences, despite international pressure for their release.The combined cost of purchasing a computer, initiating an internet connection, and paying usage charges makes internet access beyond the reach of most Ethiopians.Consequently, only 2 percent of Ethiopian households had internet access in their homes in 2013. The majority of internet users rely on cybercafes to log online, leading to a growth of cybercafes in recent years, particularly in large cities.The government also employs commentators and trolls to proactively manipulate the online news and information landscape.
Visitor information contains primary contact information and where on the site they started the chat.In an effort to expand connectivity, the government has reportedly installed several thousand kilometers of fiber-optic cable throughout the country over the past few years. Construction of the East African Submarine Cable System (EASSy) was completed and launched in July 2010, but its effects on Ethiopia have yet to be seen as of mid-2014. The space for independent initiatives in the ICT sector, entrepreneurial or otherwise, is extremely limited, with state-owned Ethio Telecom holding a firm monopoly over internet and mobile phone services in the country.Consequently, all connections to the international internet are completely centralized via Ethio Telecom, enabling the government to cut off the internet at will.While access to the internet via mobile phones increased slightly in the last year, prohibitively expensive mobile data packages still posed a significant financial obstacle for the majority of the population in Ethiopia, where per capita income in 2013 stood at US0. Ethiopia’s telecom market is very unsaturated due to monopolistic control, providing customers with few options at arbitrary prices. Prices are set by the state-controlled Ethio Telecom and kept artificially high.As of mid-2014, monthly packages cost between ETB 200 and 3,000 (US to 0) for 1 to 30 GB of 3G mobile services. The computer remains the most practical option for going online, though in 2014, personal computers are still prohibitively expensive.