Losing My Lifeline: The Remote Job Casualty of Cameroon’s Connectivity Issues

Ngenge Senior
2 min readApr 6, 2024
Photo by Compare Fibre on Unsplash

This isn’t just another rant. It’s a story of how unreliable internet connectivity in Cameroon, particularly from major providers, cost me a significant remote role in 2023.

In late 2022, I landed a remote technical writing job I was thrilled about. The role offered a starting salary of $1,200 (approximately XAF 700,000 at the time) with an additional $100 per month for internet. Determined to secure a stable connection, I opted for Camtel’s fiber optic service.

Following the standard procedure, I visited their Buea branch and submitted an application. Days turned into weeks with no response. Frustrated, I resubmitted the application, only to face the same silence. On my third visit, the secretary suggested a “grease the wheels” of XAF 70,000. Desperate to avoid jeopardizing my new role, I paid.

The internet was installed within a week, but the euphoria was short-lived. It stopped working entirely after just two hours. Calls to Camtel went unanswered. By this point, I’d spent roughly XAF 150,000.

Further investigation revealed they’d connected me to another customer’s line, explaining the abrupt outage. To add insult to injury, the technicians who did the installation were out of town, leaving me stranded. Countless calls later, they finally resolved the issue. However, my internet woes continued.

Regular meetings are crucial in a remote role. Unfortunately, these became a nightmare due to constant internet blackouts. Excuses grew thin as the company understandably questioned how I couldn’t secure stable internet despite their $100 contribution.

Seeking a solution, I purchased a backup modem from Orange Cameroon for XAF 40,000. Disappointingly, the problems persisted. I was essentially paying for unreliable internet from both Camtel and Orange. MTN Cameroon wasn’t an option either. Their slow 125Kbps service prompted me to cancel after two months of frustration in 2022 despite paying XAF 25,000 monthly.

These issues ultimately led to me losing the job after only three months. This wasn’t my first experience with unreliable internet, and the constant struggle is a major embarrassment when working remotely. It feels deliberate, almost like these telecom companies are intentionally hindering progress.

There’s a growing interest in Starlink as an alternative. It’s no surprise, then, that the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications is pushing for a ban. Instead of improving their services, they’d rather stifle competition. This speaks volumes about the state of internet accessibility in Cameroon. It seems the big players want to keep people dependent on their subpar services.

I’m just one person who lost a livelihood. There are countless others facing the same struggle. The push to ban Starlink, a potentially more affordable option, only highlights the deliberate tactics these unreliable providers may be employing.