Tanzania will spend over $189 million on laying the national fibre optic network, which is expected to be complete by March this year, boosting access to and lowering cost of Internet.
Minister for Communication Science and Technology Professor Makame Mbarawa says the project is financed jointly by China and Tanzania, with the former dishing out over $170 million and the latter $18 million.
Professor Mbarawa said that the Exim Bank of China has provided the government with a concession loan for phase one and two of the project.
According to Prof Mbarawa the plan is to connect the whole country, with the cable reaching each district before the end of 2012.
“Over 10,000km will be connected by March this year and the government plans to expand to all regions in the country,” he said.
Phase one and two of the project will cover 7000km and already there exists 3,674km of national optic fibre cable in the Country.
Therefore, the National ICT Backbone Project when completed will cover a distance of 10,674km.
According to the government construction work commenced on the central part of the Country and then moved towards the borders of the Western neighbouring countries of Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda.
All administrative regional and district centres within Tanzania should be connected to the backbone project.
Phase one of the project has already been carried out, with 19 regions and 59 districts already connected, while the remaining Lindi,Ruvuma, Kigoma, Rukwa, and Mbeya will be covered in the next phase.
The government said that upon its completion, the project will open up more doors for computer users.
ICT development and advancement have a positive correlation. Where there is ICT infrastructure, established structures and unconditional and reliable accessibility then automatically there is social, cultural and economic development.
ICT can therefore be a tool for achieving sustainable development, which comprises economic development, social development and environmental protection.
In this context, ICT will undoubtedly accelerate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
According to Dr Iddi Singo, the government is committed to the promotion of information and communication technology IT application in various fields including e-learning at deferent levels of education.
Dr Singo said that once the project is completed the government will from the next financial year set aside a budget for the implementation of the Tanzania Beyond Tomorrow TBT project in which through IT a teacher can teach many students in various regions at a time.This will, to a large extent, reduce the problem of teachers’ shortage that has been facing the country for decades since independence.