2 November 2017

Malawi: Government Commits to Provision of Affordable Internet

Lilongwe — Chief Director in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies, Nwazi Mnthambala has said government is committed to ensuring that every Malawian is enjoying internet connectivity at affordable rates throughout the country.

She said internet connectivity projects are being conducted throughout the country to ensure that every part of the country is connected and thereby enabling every community to have equal access to the product.

Mnthambala was speaking Wednesday when the Media and Communications Parliamentary Committee visited the Virtual Landing Point site at Capital Hill and other installations within Lilongwe.

Said Mnthambala: "Government is working tirelessly to make sure the reach and cost of connectivity reaches all corners of the country at affordable rates.

Kawale listens attentively as a SimbaNet technician makes a point during the tour - Pic by Roy Nkosi

We will not relent until the whole of Malawi is fully digital," adding that there is no other option.

On his part, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee, Sam Kawale said his committee would ensure that issues of Information Communication and Technology (ITC) are being supported and addressed.

He said as committee they need to appreciate the challenge the sector is facing in order to lobby in parliament for support.

Mulanje South legislator Bon Kalindo (c) and Kawale appreciate some of the equipment as an official explains - Pic by Roy Nkosi

"We have heard on the need for the government to consider reduced rates and have a critical look on the issues of taxations relating to internet connectivity in the country," Kawale said.

However, SimbaNET General Manager, Brian Longwe, bemoaned lack of reliable last mile structures to improve internet connectivity in the country.

He said once the country would have the reliable last mile structures internet connectivity would encounter less challenges.

Huawei Country Director Director for Malawi Wan Wei explains a point to the legislators during the tour - Pic by Roy Nkosi

Longwe viewed the fibre optical connection is the most viable and reliable internet option the country need to adopt for better service delivery.

"Most internet service providers have opted to used wireless connection which has proved to be slow in in its operation due to congestion," the General Manager viewed.

He noted that end user prices for internet connectivity in the country was still high due to limited services providers.

Longwe said if the country could have more service providers then the rates would gradually be reduced and make the end user enjoys the services much better.

Brian Longwe of SimbaNet gestures as he makes a point during the visit - Pic by Roy Nkosi

The Manager also said issues of taxation need to be taken into consideration if the internet connectivity rates are to be reduced.

Huawei Country Director Wan Wei made a commitment to government and the legislators, that his company that is a contractor to the National Fibre Backbone Project, will finish within the year all its tasks.

Huawei is a Chinese Company with over 180,000 employees on its books has a global footprint across the world with two offices in Malawi, one in Lilongwe and another one in Blantyre.

The tour was conducted at Capital Hill site, Kanengo Escom substation and Lilongwe District Council offices where officials from the Ministry, Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM), Huawei and SimbaNet briefed the legislators on the project.


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