Communication cost countrywide decreases by 99 pc

THE ongoing construction of the National ICT Broadband Backbone in phases will ultimately cut down the data and communication cost, Deputy Minister for Information, Communication and Information Technology, Engineer Kundo Mathew told the National Assembly on Friday.

Moreover, the general communication cost countrywide has decreased by 99 per cent, while for individual consumer, the airtime chargers has gone down from 147/- per minute in 2009 to 30/- in 2022.

The deputy minister gave the figures when answering a question from Mr Cosato Chumi (Mafinga-CCM) who wanted to know how the national ICT Broadband Backbone has facilitated to cut down the data and other communication charges.

He said the government is carrying out construction of the National ICT Broadband Backbone infrastructures in phases and it will cover all areas of the country according to the financial resources availability and in some areas with the facilities has improved communications and cut down cost.

Recently, the docket minister, Mr Nape Nnauye outlined plans to cut data tariffs and other telecommunication charges later this year, when the process of reviewing tax-related legislation for the industry will be completed.

He said in order to reduce the cost of bundles, which, according to majority of Tanzanians, is high despite Tanzania being placed sixth in tariff affordability in Africa, the government is reviewing the relevant legislation.

“Reduction of internet costs will boost innovation in information and communication technology, which is one of the critical drivers of productivity and economic growth, said Mr Nnauye

According to the minister, several initiatives to this effect were underway and that the tariffs are a result of scientific analysis, which takes into consideration the cost of investment, number subscribers, operating costs, tax and levies, among other factors.

Mr Nnauye said the government conducts a major assessment of the state of internet access and bundles every five years, to see what needs to be done to bring relief to users.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan has directed for the tariffs cut to make it possible for Tanzanians to enjoy their fundamental right related to freedom of information. She insisted that buying data bundles shouldn’t be a luxury.

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