Internet users in African landlocked countries still face high Internet prices despite advent of submarine cables

More lobbying required

According a report in the New vision today, there is need for robust lobbying to bring down the cost of Internet bandwidth to further the penetration of information communication technology (ICT) for landlocked countries like Uganda.

Uganda, served by two undersea fiber optic cables, has a lower Internet penetration than neighbours Kenya and Tanzania, with experts blaming the high cost of Internet bandwidth for Uganda’s trailing.

Uganda is currently served by The East African Marine System (TEAMS) and the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy), covering a 17,000km distance at a cost of more than $650m (sh1.7 trillion).

“The bringing of submarine cables onto the East African coast was predominantly lobbied for by the business community, especially in Kenya. We need to lobby further in a similar way for companies that can invest in fiber optic technology as a business”

— Godfrey Kisekka, the Orange Uganda chief technical officer.

Before the fiber optic cables reached the East African coast in 2009, Internet connectivity was realized through the overly expensive satellite links.

Uganda’s telecom operators are charged by either Kenyan or Tanzanian operators

The Orange CTO went on to further explain that “The cost (of Internet) went down considerably (when fibre cables came), but could not reach the Kenya and Tanzania levels. This is because Ugandan operators have to build or pay for back-hauling from Uganda through Kenya or Tanzania to the coast,”

Uganda’s telecom operators are charged by either Kenyan or Tanzanian operators an additional cost. With more routes in Kenya and Tanzania, perhaps the cost of back-hauling will come down, but that is something that Ugandan companies have no control over.

 

 


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