Tanzania, China sign telecom deal

The Ministry of Communication, Science and Technology has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China International Telecommunication Construction Corporation (CITCC) for the implementation of Phase V of National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB).

The MoU is aimed at ICT infrastructure development in which the implementation of Phase V will commence next year.

Earlier, Minister for Science, Communication and Technology, Professor Makame Mbarawa, said that Tanzania still needed support for the country to be able to connect Africa through ICT.

“ICT is the tool which can connect all African countries and if more efforts will be put our country will be the centre to connect them,” he said.

Prof Mbarawa said that the infrastructure will enhance use of ICT applications for sustainable socio-economic development including implementation of e-government, e-learning, e-health and e-commerce.

The Minister said that among the objectives of the signed MoU was for the implementation of phase V which will help to connect people in rural areas, hospitals and school with ICT services.

NICTBB programme was developed in a phased approach by the Ministry of Communication, Science and Technology with the primary objective of providing broadband ICT connectivity to Tanzanians at all levels including the national, regional, district, municipal, village, and the household levels.

The NICTBB is being implemented in five phases. Phases I and II have been completed with a total of 7,560 km live backbone already in operation.

Currently, the backbone covers 24 regions of Tanzania’s mainland, and has connectivity to submarine cables (EASSy, SEACOM and SEAS) and also cross-border connectivity to our neighbours Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi, Burundi and Zambia. 

Chinese Minister for Industry and Information Technology, Mr Miao Wei, said their country will continue to support Africa as they share common destiny.

“I am very impressed with the implementation of phase 1 and 2 of NICTBB as the set objectives have been met and that is a good sign,” said Mr Wei.

Mr Wei further said that after the completion of Phase V the country will have solid foundation for ICT, which should influence future connectivity of the whole Africa.

Expounding further, he said once the establishment of huge Data Centres under Phase III is complete, China will encourage more ICT companies to invest in Tanzania.

President of CITCC, Mr Shi Fu Rong, said that the signing of MoU represents their continued support in making sure ICT layed a solid foundation in Tanzania.

“We will make more effort and make sure we provide you with the better ICT infrastructure to help you become ICT hub for East Africa and beyond,” he said.

Currently implementation of Phase III, Sub Phase I is ongoing with the aim to build an Internet Data Centre, and an IP network based on IMPLS technology.

Furthermore, the Government under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement with Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) is rolling out optic fibre Metro Ring Networks in urban areas and building the missing links under Phase IV.

Tanzania has about five million internet users and mobile phone penetration has reached 32 million subscribers from about five million in less than 10 years.
Source: Daily News, reported by Hilda Mhagama, from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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