Advertisment

Uganda's Digital Leap: Government Cuts Data Costs by Half to Boost e-Government Services

author-image
Israel Ojoko
New Update

Reducing Costs to Encourage Private Sector Action

Advertisment

In a significant move towards digital inclusivity, Uganda's ICT minister, Dr Chris Baryomunsi, announced a 50% reduction in the cost of data provided through the national fibre backbone, from $70 per Mbps to $35 per Mbps per month. This decision is geared towards encouraging private internet service providers to follow suit and reduce their prices, thereby promoting the adoption of e-government services.

The National Information Technology Authority Uganda's (NITA-U) initiative is expected to lead to significant savings on the government's communication budget, which will be channelled towards further technological advancements in the country. This decision is seen as a step forward in making internet access more affordable for all Ugandans.

The National Backbone: Connecting Uganda

Advertisment

The National Backbone, managed by NITA-U, now reaches all regions of the country, connecting approximately 1,466 government offices, 53 districts, and nine border points, thereby increasing the reach and impact of e-government services across the nation. Despite the recent launch of 5G networks by private sector service providers, it is still unclear whether they will lower their prices in response to this governmental move.

Improving Access to E-Government Services

Director for E-government, Collin Babirukamu, voiced the need for lowering the cost of smartphones to improve access to e-governance services. He suggested that current taxes on smartphones are hindering e-government usage. Babirukamu expressed the desire for all citizens to access government services via mobile devices, thereby making governance more accessible and efficient.

Advertisment

(Read Also: Uganda Witnesses Lowest Inflation Rate in 15 Months, Boosted by Falling Commodity Prices)

Refugee-Hosting Districts to Get High-Speed Internet

In a separate development, NITA-U's executive director, Dr Hatwib Mugasa, revealed plans to connect refugee-hosting districts to high-speed internet under the Uganda Digital Acceleration Project (UDAP-GOVNET). The initiative will involve the deployment of 80 mobile broadband masts, the purchase of additional bandwidth, and the development of a telecentre for refugee-hosting communities.

Advertisment

As part of the project, 53 district headquarters have already been connected to the national backbone infrastructure under the last mile connectivity project. Also, 61 local government sites have been added to the digital network. This move is seen as an important step towards digital inclusion for vulnerable groups in the country.

(Read Also: Uganda’s MTN and Airtel Power Up the Race for 5G Dominance)

Conclusion: A Step Forward in Digital Inclusion

Overall, Uganda's decision to halve the cost of data is a significant step towards digital inclusivity and the promotion of e-government services. As the world continues to embrace digital transformation, it is crucial for all nations, including Uganda, to make internet access affordable and accessible for all citizens. The success of this initiative will ultimately depend on the response of private service providers and the government's commitment to further reducing costs and improving digital infrastructure.

Advertisment
Advertisment