TANZANIA – The government of Tanzania is to use the country’s national electricity grid to extend its nationwide fibre network.
The country’s Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies has awarded Tanzania Telecommunications Corporation a contract to construct the network over the power infrastructure – and to extend the power network itself.
Faustine Ndugulile, the minister of information and communication technologies, said high-speed internet was essential for the next industrial revolution.
“The fourth industrial revolution is built on a combination of various digital and modern technologies such as blockchain, drones, internet, artificial intelligence and more,” he said.
“To be able to effectively use all these technologies, we need reliable communication and power supply.”
Tanzania is funding the expansion with the help of a US150 million loan from the World Bank, announced in May 2021.
The government aims to improve broadband connections for more than 75% of the country’s population of 58 million.
Ndugulile said he wanted every household that is connected to electricity to also have access to the internet.
This investment in fibre is part of the Digital Tanzania Project, which also aims to connect 425 ministries, departments and public agencies.
By the end of the year, the national fibre infrastructure should be extended by 4,450 km, more than double the 1,880 km planned for the financial year 2021-22.
World Bank US$150 million award
In May 2021, The World Bank approved grants totalling US$350 million to the east African nations of Tanzania and Uganda.
Tanzania got US$150 million as part of its Digital Tanzania Project (DTP), one of three national projects for which the international financial institution has released a total of US$850 million.
The money received for the DTP would be used to increase access to quality broadband internet services for government, businesses, and citizens, and to improve the government’s capacity to deliver digital public services.
The World Bank said the three components of the DTP will need to be in place for the whole project to succeed.
These include strengthening the digital ecosystem through laws, policies, and regulations that promote investment in ICT infrastructure, market competitiveness, digital engagement, job creation, and innovation.
The second is ensuring access to affordable, high-quality internet services for all, including in rural areas, and lastly, developing public digital platforms and services so that the government can provide services to citizens and conduct its own business digitally.
Upon completion of the DTP, the World Bank hopes that more than 75% of the Tanzanian population will have access to a mobile broadband network signal.
Some 425 public-sector organisations will also be connected to broadband, and the number of monthly online connections for public service should increase from 200,000 to at least 500,000.