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Law, policy on ICT needed, says expert

4th February 2013
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Dr Zaipuna Yonah

The government has been challenged to speed up the formulation of laws and the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Policy so as to protect the National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB), which lacks legal protection.

The call was made in Dar es Salaam over the weekend by Consulting Engineer and Director of ICTs Eng Dr Zaipuna Yonah in a seminar with news editors on the progress of the National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB).

Yonah said lack of laws and policy governing the fibre optics industry is a big challenge but the task to create one is daunting since the document currently the National ICT policy of 2003 must be reviewed to match the periodic technological development.

Original funding to set up the sector in Tanzania was via a loan, 170m/-USD that came from China through the bank of Exim while 18b/- amount provided by the government itself.

NICTBB covers some 7,560 km, 5,448km being newly laid and 2,112km built by Tanzania National Electricity Supply Company (TANESCO).

Dr Yonah explained that the task to build up NICTBB is a progressive mission and already phases I and II which cover National broadband backhaul/connecting to submarine cables/cross-border connectivity have been completed. The third phase involves set up of, missing links, service layer, data centers has already been approved and more efforts are directed to raising funds.

Phase four of the metro network covers 90km in Dar es Salaam completed at 6m/- USD. The last phase, mile broadband connectivity, is still in process.

Yonah added that nine cross border connectivity stations have built in borders of Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi and Zambia.

NICTBB have connected to other international broadband such as SEACOM EASSY and TEAMS. The broadband SEAs is built to join Tanzania and Seychelles a project sponsored by mobile service provider Zantel.

Operation manager, Adin Mgendi acknowledged that low funding is their major challenge. Mgendi added that poor planning of cities in the country is a big challenge that it has been very difficult in connection due to many buildings being built roughly and other authorities like Dar es Salaam Water and Sewage Cooperation (DAWASCO). 

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN