Government to fund USD170m national communication backbone, reports say

16 Jun 2008

According to an unconfirmed report on the website of Tanzanian newspaper Daily News, the government is to spend TZS204 billion (USD170 million) to build a national ICT infrastructure backbone designed to link all regional and district headquarters by 2010. The Communications, Science and Technology Minister Prof Peter Msolla, is reported to have told the National Assembly that the ICT backbone will be built using fibre-optic technology and financed through a soft loan by China. The new system would have capacity to cater for all Tanzania’s data transmission requirements and will link up with the Indian Ocean submarine cable systems – EASSy, Seacom and Uhurunet – where Dar es Salaam will the landing site. Upon completion the new ICT backbone will be government-owned while its operational management will be handled by national PTO Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited (TTCL). Alongside the construction of the new fibre-optic backbone Prof Msolla said the government was also finalising plans on the introduction of a new universal communication access fund. The fund was established by the Universal Communication Access Act of 2006, and aims to enhance telecoms services in the country, particularly in rural areas. The minister said the new fund would be up and running by December 2008 thanks in part to a USD30 million contribution from Sweden via the World Bank.