Tanzania is on course to make a great digital leap forward as broadband service coverage is completed to further deepen transformation of the country into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.
The state owned Tanzania Telecommunication Company Limited (TTCL) announced last week that it had completed broadband connectivity in the entire country to mark an important milestone in digital transformation that will lead the country to a modern economy.
“We are proud to announce the complete coverage of Tanzania with fast broadband services,” TTCL’s Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Peter Ngota said in a statement to mark the end of an arduous task of rolling out the national ICT broadband backbone (NICTBB) infrastructure across the country.
“We are proud to announce the complete coverage of Tanzania with fast broadband services. It is appropriate that, hard on the heels of the recent Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES 2015), we are able to support the entrepreneurial spirit of Tanzania.
“We know that fast reliable broadband is essential to develop our next generation of business leaders in the digital economy. No matter where they are TTCL provides broadband connectivity using all suitable technologies. This positions TTCL to support the national growth agenda for Tanzania and MDGs,” he said.
The hundred per cent national broadband coverage across the country means a boost to exciting new digital capabilities which with new high speed satellite broadband service, homes and businesses now have the opportunity to enjoy a broadband connection to the internet of up to 15Mb speeds wherever they are in the country.
The launch of these services will also help a growing number of young people play a part in the global digital economy. “This new generation of digital entrepreneurs can develop their ideas and collaborate with others to build their online businesses from even the most remote locations of Tanzania,” he said.
Even before the rolling out of the broadband backbone infrastructure reached 100 per cent, broadband coverage has propelled the growth of digital quotient in the country, and, in turn, positively affected the lives of a vast majority of Tanzania’s population.
Tanzanians are enjoying new exciting developments and according to the Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Prof. Makame Mbarawa, the cost of making calls had dropped by 57 percent while internet services became 75 per cent cheaper, leading to a rise in the number of internet users from 3.4 million in 2008 to 9.6 million by the end of last year.
Registered mobile customers increased from 2.96 million in 2005 to 28.3 million by early this year. It is foreseen that internet users will reach 13 million by December 2015, with 80 percent of the adult population having access to mobile financial services. To cap on these new development is the fast expanding mobile financial services in the country.
Tanzania is one of the fastest growing mobile markets and mobile financial services are at the heart of this burgeoning sector.
The advent of mobile telephone has transformed fundamental aspects of people’s lives, including banking where mobile money is now used by 12.3 million Tanzanians, 57 percent of the adult population, according to information from Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA).
The broadband connectivity is also expected to place Tanzania as the ICT hub of the East and Central African region as nearly all neighbouring countries depend on the TTCL fiber connectivity as a source of information. These are Burundi, Rwanda, Zambia, Malawi, Kenya and Uganda.
Ngota said further that under the plans, TTCL will ensure that all countries in east, central and southern Africa particularly the Southern African Development Community (SADC) use the TTCL fiber optic cable as the hub of information. “This is one of our long term plans after connecting different local institutions with communication,” he said.