Twenty three towns have so far been covered in the completed phase one and two of the National Data Transmission Backbone Infrastructure and e-government infrastructure project, the IT authority has stated.
During a sensitization workshop of the third phase of the National Data Transmission Backbone Infrastructure and e-government infrastructure project in Masaka over the weekend, National Information and Technology Authority (NITA-U) said phases one and two are complete and have achieved connectivity to Kampala, Entebbe, Bombo, Mukono, Jinja, Busia, Tororo, Malaba, Mbale, Kumi, Soroti, Lira, Gulu, Elegu, Masindi, Nakasongola, Luwero, Mbarara, Bushenyi, Kasese, Fort Portal and Kyenjojo under the NBI.
“It has also enabled the eGovernment infrastructure including the building of a National Data Centre and the extension of high speed connectivity to 101 ministries, departments and agencies,” said James Saaka, NITA chief saying preparations for the official launch of the third phase are underway.
In total, 1,543kms of underground optical fibre cable have been laid. But this is just about a fifth of the total urban population of Uganda and extensive work remains to be done as well as massive education of the masses to tap into this huge infrastructure project.
Some 110 ministries, departments and government agencies sites are today receiving high speed connectivity and eGovernment services including bulk internet, Data Centre Hosting, email and office automation.
Bulk internet provision according to NITA-U has seen the reduction of internet bandwidth cost from $700 per megabits per second (mbps) to $300. NITA – U intends to further reduce this cost and reduce costs nationwide.
Government generates revenue through the resale of excess capacity to the private sector, telecommunication companies and other government agencies.
Government also considers IT as a strategic resource to enhance government services, enrich businesses and empower citizens.
NBI/EGI comprises two components, the NBI that is the building of the National Backbone countrywide and the EGI is implementing Infrastructure that will support eGovernment Services. This includes applications and the National Data Centre. Funding of the Project is through a concessional loan from the China to cover the entire project. The actual laying of the cable is also being done by a Chinese firm Huawei.
It will also include connection to other government bodies including Uganda Police, local government offices. It will also include connection to all public universities and self-accounting tertiary institutions.
At the start, there was slow uptake of the infrastructure by government agencies as some agencies even opted to purchase from the private sector. Todate, ministries like Lands have taken it up and are using it in their extensive projects for land registry automation.