THE Ministry of Communication and Information Technology has signed a partnership deal with the Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (Tanesco) that will see the former expand broadband connectivity to reach all Tanzanians.
The deal to be executed by the Tanzania Telecommunications Corporation (TTCL) involves using Tanesco's ready-installed infrastructure to improve connectivity.
The move will triple the government's pace to build fiber optic internet connectivity in the country.
Official figures show the national optic fiber connectivity is currently 8,319 kilometres, almost half below the government plan to reach 15,000 kilometres by the end of this year.
The Minister for Communication and Information Technology, Dr Faustine Ndugulile said yesterday that the national broadband is a must in the 4th Industrial Revolution.
"The Fourth Industrial Revolution is built on a combination of various digital and modern technologies such as block chain, drones, internet, artificial intelligence and more... to be able to effectively use all these technologies, we need reliable communication and power supply," Ndugulile said at the signing ceremony which was also attended by the Minister for Energy, Dr Medard Kalemani.
Dr Ndugulile said the ministry's plan is to ensure at least 94 per cent of the citizens have access to broadband coverage.
Currently, Tanzania's internet users have reached 29.15 million people, with the majority going to the web through their cell phones.
The cost per Mbps is also relatively high at five US dollars (about 11,595/-).
The government and experts hope the new broadband will lower the internet cost across the country. "We want every home with electricity connectivity to have internet access," he said, emphasising that the time is now for every house to have internet, television and mobile phone connected to the national broadband.
TTCL admits it had insufficiently connected the public to broadband, owing to limited yet expensive infrastructures.
Energy Minister Dr Medard Kalemani said the partnership will facilitate TTCL to use Tanesco's electric poles to distribute its fiber-optic cables nationwide.
"This is a more efficient way, simple and just to expand broadband connectivity," he said. He noted that with the new partnership, Tanesco will also use some of the infrastructures already installed by TTCL to supply power in the country.
Tanesco is currently linking dozens of districts to the national grid by building large scale power distribution lines.
The lines which include the 680km-line in Iringa, 520 km- Somangafungu, 422km -Geita, 398km -Tabora and 392km line in Mpanda will also be used by TTCL to link the public to the national broadband service.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology Dr Zainabu Chaula explained that the ministry and TTCL believe it will expand broadband to at least 4,449.7km, more than twice the planned 1,880km in the Financial Year 2021/22.
This new partnership will, however, enable over ten regions in the Tanzania Mainland to be linked to the nation's fiber connectivity. 21 regions of Dar es Salaam, Coastal, Morogoro, Mbeya, Dodoma, Singida, Manyara, Arusha, Tanga, Kilimanjaro, Tabora, Shinyanga, Mwanza, Kagera, Lindi, Mtwara, Ruvuma, Rukwa, Kigoma and Mara are the only connected regions.
TTCL Director General Mr Waziri Kindamba and Tanesco Director General Dr Tito Mwanuka said the corporations have agreed on a modality of implementing, serving and rehabilitating the infrastructures.