KAMPALA —The National Information Technology Authority -Uganda (NITA-U) has on Tuesday October 8 refuted media reports that suggested it had engaged in corruption and duplications and wasting while implementing the National Broadband Infrastructure.
“The originators of the false news are obviously determined on downplaying Uganda’s progress in achieving widespread connectivity that has significantly lowered internet bandwidth costs to Ugandan individuals and organizations over the last ten years,” NITA Uganda said in a media holding statement, referring to Monday’s edition of one of local newspapers.
The newspaper report alleged that there was corruption in the project citing the cost of fibre per km at USD 43,750 per km.
It was also reported that out of 12,236kms only 2,100kms are used effectively because of duplications and bureaucracy from government, by extension NITA–U and that government and private companies are erecting ICT infrastructure in similar locations.
The allegations came as as government gathers feedback from private sector and other stakeholders as it sets policy guidelines for National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI).
However, NITA-Uganda says that being the first to lay fibre in the country, the government ensured that the most realistic return on investment (ROI) has been realized specific to this national asset, the ICT backbone.
“When evaluated against the objectives of the National ICT backbone’s formation/build, the positive ROI can be viewed as follows: Objective of lowering the cost of connectivity in the country – at the start of the build of the National ICT backbone in 2008, the cost per Mbps of internet was at $1200, now NITA-U charges $70 per Mbps,” the agency reports.
“This represents a 94% reduction of the cost of internet. Today, when compared with the local average cost of internet, NITA-U’s cost of internet is 71% cheaper,” the statement added.
On ensuring nationwide connectivity, NITA Uganda said already 3,000km of fibre laid out, and the 4th phase of the ICT backbone construction underway, “the National ICT backbone is continuing to achieve in this objective.”
The other issues outlined included the cost of installation per Km, saying “it’s pertinent to note that the cost per km for fibre varies according to a number factors mainly the method of installation and the materials used in the laying of
NITA – U for this case, it has deployed the use of two methods mainly duct installation and the Aerial installation.
“For the ongoing Phase 4, NITA – U has adopted the aerial method of installation whose cost per metre is USD. 8.9 (eight dollars & 9 cents). It therefore not true that the cost for implementation for the optical fibre cable implementation is USD 43,750,” the Media holding statement adds.
At the commencement of the National ICT Backbone Project in 2006, NITA Uganda says the average cost for the duct installation was USD 26,000 per Km that has since reduced to USD 20,000 per km.
On allegations of collusion with Uganda Telecom, and the UTL stake in submarine cables, the statement noted that, “Government of Uganda has procured 10Gbps of internet capacity.”
It also noted the requirement of government at the time was 10Gbps and the mentioned capacity of 7Gbps is not sufficient for government’s forecast.