About three million Tanzanians in rural areas have accessed communication services under the Universal Communication Service Access Fund (UCSAF).
According to Works, Transport and Communication Minister, Professor Makame Mbarawa, the government has so far spent over 85bn/- to provide rural dwellers in 3,000 villages with communication services.
The minister was speaking here after a two-day working tour of Dodoma and Morogoro regions to launch the rural telecommunication projects under the joint execution by UCSAF and Viettel Tanzania Limited. Viettel Tanzania, trading as Halotel, is a mobile communications company that provides voice, messaging, data and converged services in the country.
Viettel Global, the state-owned investment firm from Vietnam owns Halotel, which has invested in Telecommunications market in several countries. During the tour, the minister was accompanied by UCSAF Chief Executive Officer, Engineer Peter Ulanga and UCSAF Board Chairman, Dr Joseph Kilongola, among others.
The team launched telecom towers in Bahi, Chamwino, Kondoa and Gairo districts at the launching ceremonies attended by area residents and District Commissioners (DCs).
Engineer Ulanga said the government in 2014 sealed a deal with Halotel on the supply of communication services to 4,000 villages, expressing optimism that all the underserved parts of the country will have reliable communication services, including speedy internet services by 2020.
"Our main goal as the government is to ensure that we provide communication services to all ... we are glad that we have so far covered many villages," he said.
Addressing Letungunya villagers in Gairo District's Kibede ward, few minutes before launching Halotel's communication tower, the minister said the government is determined to connect all villages in the country to uninterrupted communications.
"Communication sector is key for the national economy and all people, including those living in rural areas ... that is why we want you to access the same services as Dar es Salaam residents or any other big city in this country," he said.
At Nondwa ward in Bahi District, the minister launched Tanzania Telecommunication Company Limited (TTCL) communication tower, warning residents against vandalising the communication infrastructure.
He asked Tanzanians to ensure that they use the communication networks for development, instead of disseminating seditious or abusive materials.
Dodoma's TTCL Regional Manager Humphrey Ngowi said apart from availing communications to rural dwellers, the communication infrastructure also creates jobs
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