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Govt, UCAF to ensure cellular network in rural areas by 2015

6th February 2013
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Charles Kitwanga

The government has pledged to connect all villages with mobile phone communication network by 2015.

Deputy Minister of State in the Vice-President's Office (Environment) Charles Kitwanga made the pledge here yesterday when responding to a question by Mbinga West MP, John Komba (CCM), who wanted to know the time-frame of people living along the shores of Lake Nyasa be connected with mobile phone network.

Kitwanga said that TIGO (a cellular network company) has already put up a communication tower in Mbinga, purposely to connect people in the district with mobile phone network.

“However, one of the challenge in areas of Mbinga district is the geographical landscape, as most of the areas are hilly, making it very difficult for network to reach everybody,” he said, adding that as time goes more towers will be erected in the area.

He said that the government through Universal Communication Access Fund (UCAF) has managed to secure a company that would connect Mpepai ward with communication network.

A total of US$28,500 has been allocated to accomplish the task in the first phase.

According to the minister, in the second phase Mbaha, Ngumbo and Livundi will be connected with the communication network.

UCAF was introduced to subsidize telecommunication companies in the course of providing services in areas which were considered to have little business activities.

He however said that there are some areas in the country with limited telecom services due to the fact that the companies are profit-oriented, thus before supplying the service they have to be satisfied with market stability.

“That’s why we liaised with telecom companies through UCAF to ensure that all areas across the country are supplied with the services…with UCAF, we are very determined to ensure that in two years to come all villages which haven’t yet been connected are connected,” he clarified.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN