Funded by the Export-Import bank of China and with technical support from Huawei, the project has faced a couple of delays over the last three years. The recent launch of the two phases will now see the cable head to upcountry places as demand for data services grows. The project is run by the National Information Technology Authority of Uganda, which is under the ministry of ICT.
James Saaka, the executive director for NITA-U, while talking to Observer said that Phase I covers 168km of optic fibre cable connecting Kampala, Jinja, Mukono, Entebbe and Bombo. Phase II covers 1,380km of optic fibre cable connecting Phase I to Luwero, Nakasongola, Masindi, Gulu, Lira, Soroti, Kumi, Mbale, Tororo, Busia, Hoima, Kyenjojo, Fort Portal, Kasese, Bushenyi and Mbarara.
Saaka told The Observer that the project is much bigger and doesn’t only offer households the chance to send quick emails and update their Facebook statuses. He said the project is also geared towards building e-government services, where technology will link the different ministries.
According to the minister of ICT, Ruhakana Rugunda, “the e-government network will lead to savings in terms of travel time, cost of travel (fuel and other running costs) and meeting related expenses.
Services like e-Tax will improve efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery and transparency through minimizing ‘human contact’ in the service delivery chain.” Phase III due to start next year will connect to Kabale via Ntungamo and to Katuna border post.