The Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited (TTCL) expects that by 2027, one million homes will have access to high-speed internet through the Fibre Connecter Bundle service as it pushes to ensure the country’s digital economy goal is realised.
The service, according to the provider, will make it possible for all citizens to access the internet. The company has already begun offering the service in an effort to cut costs and ensure that services are available everywhere, especially in isolated communities.
The Controller and Auditor General’s (CAG) 2021/22 report revealed the unsatisfactory provision of internet services by the TTCL in some areas, including national parks.
In addition to unsatisfactory internet services, the organisation is also being criticised for failing to provide competitive mobile phone communication services in the country.
This situation prompted President Samia Suluhu Hassan, when she received the report (CAG) on March 29, this year, to advise TTCL to focus on managing the national backbone in order to reduce the losses it incurs every year.
According to the CAG report, TTCL failed to provide good internet services in some national parks and caused digital tourist registration activities to stall.
Even so, speaking yesterday during a meeting with media editors and journalists, TTCL’s executive director, Mr Peter Ulanga, said by January 2024, they expect to have taken internet service to 100 districts, and by December, they will have reached all 139 districts across the country, after solving some of the challenges.
“When you see the great development of communication in the country, we are the main driver, and we believe that the sustainability of TTCL is the realisation of the digital economy in this country,” he said.
He said when they talk about the digital economy, many things will be going through the internet since TTCL is an enabling sector that works closely with the financial sector, so they will ensure that they improve the use of digital financial services in the endeavour.
Speaking about the benefits of the internet expansion, Mr Ulanga said it will facilitate the recording of the use of money in different areas, simplify the ability to borrow and transfer transactions to different places, and provide various financial services, including easy access to insurance.
“Infrastructure issues were one of many difficulties; as a result, a lot of work is being done to improve access to communication infrastructure across the nation,” he added.
However, he said the infrastructure needs costs and manpower, and steps have started to be taken, although it may take a little time. When it is completed, the digital economy will reach where it needs to be.
The chairperson of the Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF), Mr Deodatus Balile, said the public procurement law was challenging, although people who do not do business cannot know its difficulty.
He said, for example, that if TTCL wants to do any development, if they start the procurement process with the government, it will take 180 days, which is equal to six months, but if other companies need to do such development, it becomes much easier.
“TTCL funds cannot be used until they are approved by the parliament; for example, if TTCL gets a vision to do something in July, it means she will have to wait another year during the budget to do so,” he noted.
Mr Balile added: “If we want to build a strong institution that contributes to the country’s economy, we must agree to create companies capable of running the country’s economy.”