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Government to build undersea internet cable

The high cost of internet and poor internet connectivity in Uganda could end soon, thanks to a new government plan. At the recently concluded 8th annual International Conference on Computing & ICT Research organised by Makerere University, Peter Kahiigi, the director for Technical Services at the National Information

Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U), revealed that government would build an alternative sea cable via Mutukula, Tanzania, this November. Currently, Uganda relies on the Kenyan-based cable whose constant breakdown results in slow internet connectivity.

“The Mutukula route will help lower the cost, provide high speed Internet bandwidth and enhance efficiency of service delivery to Ugandans among other benefits,” Kahiigi said.

Kahiigi said government had hired a private firm to oversee installation and management of the cable. Held under the theme Bridge the Digital Divide Through Broadband, the event attracted a number of stakeholders in the ICT sector including government officials, experts and students. Telecommunication companies and internet cafe owners were excited by the news as they bear the brunt of constant interruptions.

“We need to ask ourselves what can be done to promote the development of backbone networks and thereby stimulate the take-up of broadband services,” James Mulebeke the vice director at Huawei, a leading telecommunication technologies company, said.

Although the number of submarine cables landing into East Africa has increased in the recent past, countries like Uganda and Tanzania are yet to take full advantage of the undersea fibre optic cables.

“Digital content industry has vast potential as a major contributor to our economy and society through employment creation, capital investment, provision of skills and capabilities to traditional as well as new industry sectors,” said junior ICT Minister Nyombi Thembo, who presided over the function.

pkamukama@observer.ug

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