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Uganda legislators approve US$75 million for data backbone

December 11, 2008 • Mobile and Telecoms

Uganda’s parliament has approved a US$75 million loan for the second and third phases of the country’s national data transmission backbone, ICT Minister Ham Mulira announced.

In addition, a fourth phase has been added to the project in order to connect the war-torn region of Northern Uganda, which was not included in the original broadband infrastructure plans, Mulira said.

The original plans called for a 2,500-kilometer backbone to cover 28 districts, with major towns acting as switching centers.

The backbone is aimed at improving communication in Uganda through the wide availability of inexpensive bandwidth in areas that telecom companies have not considered economically viable. It will, thereby, provide basic communication to rural communities and help the government improve service delivery in such fields as agriculture, education and health care.

The first phase of the project covered Kampala and three other urban areas at a cost of $30 million and resulted in an e-government platform, interconnecting government institutions to exploit their full potential, reduce domestic expenditure on public administration and increase the speed of operations.

China’s Huawei Technologies is executing the job, while China Exim Bank is funding the project with a $106 million loan. The Ugandan government has provided an additional $5 million for the project.

Potential users of the backbone’s resulting bandwidth include financial institutions, mobile telephone operators, nongovernmental organizations, television broadcasters, Internet service providers and educational institutions.

Once complete, the backbone will link into the East African Backhaul System, a joint venture among operators from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda that will connect the five countries to the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System.

IDG


2 Responses to Uganda legislators approve US$75 million for data backbone

  1. Jackie K says:

    I am excited that Uganda is getting the infracture change that it so desperately needed. Hopefully this means cheaper and more reliable broadband access to the masses. All would bring advance to telemedicine, e-learning education as well as other advances that would aid in productivity and elimination of poverty.
    I do have some concerns though.

    Will the company China’s Huawei Technology investment also directly impact the people by employing Local Ugandans to be part of the job, training them, and allowing them the necessary skills to be self-sufficient. I hope the Ugandan Goverment has also put some requirements on hiring and training local Ugandans– These companies should also be urged to give back to the communities that they will be profiting from… I am not encouraging Aid or free money– But I realize these substatial investment in Uganda is a recognization that the Chiness will definetely make a huge profit… Which in the name of capitilism is fine– But the communities that they reap the benefits from shouldn’t be forgotten… we need to demand that local get jobs from these, Training, and skills that will actually allow Africa to grow and prosper– and that’s the Investment in the people! China’s Huawei.. we thank you.. but please don’t just pillage.. but allow Africans to grow with the rest of the world by teaching them how to do for themselves…

    Broadband will allow an incredible amount of Business opportunities…and lead to an elimination of the devansting poverty that has plagued our continent…This is the time to Train, educate, and give our Africans the skills needed to be self-sufficient and prosperous.

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