The cost of Internet will go down following the adaptation of the new National Broadband Policy, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of ICT & National Guidance, Vincent Bagire has said.
Bagire, who was speaking during the taxpayer appreciation week dialogue at the Kololo Independence Grounds, said the new policy will force telecommunication companies to provide services to people countrywide.
“The new policy is good for the general public; we hope that once the services providers adhere to it, the cost of Internet will go down since it looks at reducing the cost of doing business by the telecom companies,” he explained.
Under the new policy, telecom companies will be forced to share infrastructures such as telecom masts.
According to Bagire, the telecom companies now will be in position to spare some funds to invest in extending optical fibres across the country thus extending Internet connectivity.
Recently, the ministry of ICT & National Guidance officially launched the new National Broadband Strategy for Uganda (2016-2020) that was approved by Cabinet.
The strategy describes broadband as an “interconnected multi-layered ecosystem of high capacity communications, network services, applications, devices and users.
Some of the deliberations and resolutions from the Cabinet towards the Policy stipulate that; internet access via wireless networks such as Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G, among other advanced connections should be cheaper to the public
Bagire added that government is looking at ICT sector as Engine to drive the government to achieve its development goals of vision 2030 he explains that ICT can enhance improved service delivery both in Government and the private sector alongside, creating employment and wealth to the younger generation.
The Broadband was also identified as that area of ICT that needed focus. The vision of the strategy is “A transformed middle-income economy, driven by affordable high-quality broadband connectivity.
According to the Permanent Secretary, the new policy is centred around 5 areas including (1) infrastructure, connectivity, and devices (2) content, applications, and innovation (3) capacity building, and awareness creation (4) policy, legal regulatory environment and (5) finance and investment.
During the Dialogue, different people complained of the high cost of Internet in the country which they say is slowing the adoption of a digital economy as it is in the rest of the East African Community Countries.
“Ugandans are not migrating to the digital economy because of the high cost of internet. Also, some parts are not connected; that is why the government needs to come in and ensure that the whole country is connected to Internet for easy communication,” Janat Akello from Kotido asked during the dialogue.
James Okello from Jinja said improved connectivity in the country also lowers the cost of doing business in the country.