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Minister Chris Baryomunsi appearing before the Committee on ICT

Cost of Internet to Drop in new Financial Year

by KP
posted onApril 5, 2023

The cost of internet is likely to drop further in the new 2023/2024 Financial year.

This was revealed by the Minister of ICT, Hon. Chris Baryomunsi who was on Wednesday appearing before the Committee on Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) and National Guidance to defend the sector’s ministerial policy statement.

Baryomunsi who was accompanied by technical officers from National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U) were tasked by the committee MPs to explain the high cost of internet provided by the authority.

“We are told that the cost of internet acquired from NITA-U is the cheapest on the market which is not true because there are some private players who are providing cheaper internet. So how would it be that private players are providing cheaper internet than NITA-U?” Committee chairperson, Hon. Moses Magogo said.

Richard Obita, the Director, Planning, Research and Development at NITA-U assured the MPs of their target to reduce the cost of internet further from the current US$70 for each megabit per second to US$35 for each megabit per second. Initially, Ugandans were paying US$100 per megabit per second for internet services.

“Once we are done with the last mile connectivity under the regional communication strategy, we did pronounce that with the effect of the coming financial year, we are going to lower the cost of internet to US$35 per megabit per second,” Obita said.

Minister Baryomunsi said the ICT sector is committed to ensuring that the entire country is connected to the National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) which would increase internet accessibility, thus lowering its cost. He however, asked Parliament to support the sector with adequate resources to meet its goals. Currently, the national internet coverage under the NBI is at 62 percent.

“We are preparing another loan from Exim Bank which if cleared by cabinet and parliament then we shall have enough resources to cover the rest of the districts to do last mile connections which includes district headquarters, health centers, schools, and all government facilities,” Baryomunsi said.

The committee also recommended that all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) pay for the internet services provided by NITA-U under the NBI project. This is after NITA-U complained that some MDAs were not paying for the services, and this subsequently stifled their revenue collection.

“Why would you want those MDAs to get your services for free yet they can pay for other utilities like water and electricity? This is a matter of policy which we need to take up and immediately ensure that those who get services from the ICT sector pay for them,” Hon. Mpindi Bumali (Indep. PwDs Representative) said.

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