One thousand roads and no highway...

Three days into our Malawi adventure and my head is full of questions. I think that I have pieced together a reasonable view of what the internet infrastructure looks like in Malawi through various meetings at the US embassy here in Lilongwe.

It seems that in Malawi, any government office, international organization or private company who wants to connect to the internet does so by buying their own VSAT satellites. Its essentially every person for themselves, as each organization takes their chunk of capital and builds their own personal pipeline.

Its as if a village of people wanted to travel to a distant city, instead of pooling resources to build a highway that would provide faster/more reliable/efficient transportation, the people each decided to carve their own individual narrow roads to the far away city. There is an unbelieved able amount of upkeep and investment costs associated with keeping these "individual roads" or fragmented internet oasises running.

This fragmentation is frustrating to me, again, I am new here, but it seems that these VSATs are very sort-term and individualized solutions that serve very few people. They could never really be the economic catalysts to Malawi that I think the internet should be. Maybe I am naive, but It makes me wonder if some sort of resource pooling campaign couldn't be possible to link up to the nearest fiber connection here in Africa?

There is a rumor here in Malawi that there is no wire that crosses the Malawian border... not power... not electricity... not data.

I wonder where the nearest fiber optic cable is to Malawi? Who could I begin asking? Could it be streched here?