Govt to surpass broadband penetration target

THE government may surpass the 80 per cent target of extension of broadband penetration in the country by 2025 due to its heightened commitment to invest on Information Communication Technology (ICT) to speed up digital transformation, it has been stated.

Minister for Information, Communication and Information Technology, Mr Nape Nnauye disclosed this on Tuesday during the Digital Transformation Forum held in Dar es Saalam that involved a diverse of digital transformation stakeholders including telecommunication operators.

He said the digital transformation is in line with the ruling party 2020/2025 Election Manifesto’s target of 80 per cent countrywide broadband penetration by 2025.

However, he noted that the government investment on ICT infrastructures is high and is likely to bring beyond the party’s set target.

Mr Nape commended President Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan for an outstanding political and economic commitment on speeding up the country’s digital transformation, building the foundation for a tech driven inclusive economy.

“Some of us stand as witness, as we signed the strategic deal worth 275.5 million US dollars in Dodoma involving the Universal Communication Service Access Fund for the implementation of projects geared to ensure availability of communication services in rural and urban underserved areas,” he said.

The strategic deal, he said, will boost the capacity of about 400 communication towers.

He said the National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB) has been upgraded from the capacity of 200 GPPS to 2000 GPPS, which is equivalent to two terabytes per second.

Additionally, Mr Nape said the government will continue cooperating with private investor ICT stakeholders, to make the digital country’s economic dream a reality.

Furthermore, he said the government has significantly reduced the fees for construction of optic fiber cable along the road from 1000 to 100 US dollars per kilometer, saying the cut in fees is a bold government decision to ease ICT investment in the country.

Highlighting achievements from the improved ICT infrastructure, he said recent data shows the registered mobile phone subscription have increased to 63 million by April this year from about 56 million in 2022, which is an increase of 12 per cent.

He said the number of mobile money users has risen from nearly 36 million in April 2022 to 44 million users in April this year.

He said the digital economy realisation requires solid regulatory legal and policies framework that help innovation and entrepreneurship to grow, saying his ministry is planning to launch a ten- year plan (2023/2033) of the national digital economic framework.

Meanwhile, Vodacom Tanzania’s Managing Director, Philip Besiimire said in order to catch up with world class digital transformation, collaborative efforts between the government and private sectors is a key for diversified ICT infrastructures that among other things enable citizens to  afford buying smartphones.

He therefore suggested setting an affordable price for smartphones in the country in a bid to see as many citizens as possible getting access to internet and ICT services in general.

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