- Published on Tuesday, 24 July 2012 03:19
- Written by ORTON KIISHWEKO
- Hits: 1454
THE Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited (TTCL) is eyeing the inland countries with the view to sell internet bandwidth to markets of Burundi, Mozambique, Malawi, Uganda and Zambia.
In a comprehensive plan that seeks to take advantage of the resilience of Tanzania's National ICT Broadband Backbone, TTCL says it intends to sell more gigabytes of internet bandwidth as a commodity to the neighbouring countries.
The TTCL Marketing Manager, Mr Nicodemus Mngutu, has told 'Business Standard' that they are counting on the country network's guarantee on availability and reliability of 99.8 per cent as compared to the rest of the region which is below 70 per cent.
"Now that the NICTBB has reached all border points of the country, and that we have already illustrated capability by getting the 6.7 million US dollars (about 10.7bn/-) contract to supply 1.244 gigabytes of internet bandwidth to Rwanda for 10 years, we are eyeing more markets of the inland countries which can take advantage of our complete network," he said in an interview.
He added: "As land-locked countries , they face significant challenges in getting access to low cost international connectivity. This purchase of bulk international capacity on regional and international networks will significantly boost our vision to make bandwidth available to such markets."
Mr Mngutu said that if broadband becomes a commodity on the inland markets, it would stimulate deployment of a wider and improved range of services to consumers at affordable prices.
In the TTCL Rwanda contract, TTCL was expected to install, configure, test, commission and activate a temporary link with 155 megabytes bandwidth per second.
He said that so far Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Kenya and Uganda have also expressed their interest to be supplied with bandwidth.Rwanda currently offers low internet penetration at 7 per cent though government is targeting to increase it to 12 per cent this year.
The cost of internet is also still relatively high with users spending on average approximately Rwf30 ($0.05) per mega byte.The Rwanda project aims at lowering prices of internet capacity as well as extending the geographical reach of broadband networks.
After Rwanda, Mozambique will be the next country to take advantage of NICTBB.The NICTBB Technical Coordinator Eng Anita Chingumbe said that Mozambique is in talks with Tanzania's National ICT Broadband Backbone with the view to have the NICTBB reach the country's border.
The NICTBB from Dar es Salaam reaches Mtwara but Movitel wants Tanzania to push it to the remaining distance towards the border so that the company can get its backup for its existing operations in Mozambique.
"The company is in talks with NICTBB on how Mozambique can be connected from the Umoja bridge Mtambaswala border with Tanzania. The talks may result into a deal," she said.
She said what triggered Movitel's interest was when TTCL closed the $6.7-million, 10-year deal to supply 1.244 gigabytes of internet bandwidth to Rwanda.
It made Tanzania the first East African Community member (EAC) to start selling internet bandwidth to other EAC states thanks to the laying of the international submarine fiber-optic cable systems Eassy and Seacom.
"They want to get resilience incase their network goes down. We have already done the feasibility study and we see it viable to take it to the border post from either Masasi or Mtwara," she said.
She said they have finished a feasibility study at border post with Mozambique, adding that Tanzania is safer because it has rings through regions and districts which makes it resilient even if one line were to be cut off.
In the region's context, she said, Tanzania's network also has guarantee on availability and reliability of 99.8 per cent as compared to the region which is below 70 per cent.
"This technology is not only resilient to bad weather, including rain, but it possesses better characteristics such as high bandwidth capacity, compactness, low transmission losses, high signal security, immunity to interference and system reliability." she said.
To target potential markets of all the surrounding countries, she said already, border posts where the cable are reached include Manyovu (to serve Burundi), Rusumo border post (to serve Rwanda), Mutukula (to serve Uganda),Sirali,Namanga and Horohoro border posts to serve Kenya.
Tunduma border point for Zambia and Kasumulo border post for Malawi.Other landlocked countries, she said, may express interest to use the newly built national ICT backbone so as they can get international links via the submarine cables that landed at the Indian Ocean shores recently.
Such countries include Zambia, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo and Malawi.She added that it has resulted in an increase of mobile phone users from less than 100,000 in the late 1990s to about 20 million in December 2010, which translates to around 50 per cent teledensity. This contributed about 25 per cent to the national GDP in 2009/2010 financial year.