technology (1)Brahima Sanou, The director of Telecommunication Development Bureau (DBT) at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), has urged East African states to treat broadband connectivity not as something that is desirable, but a must-have. He was speaking at the first East African ICT conference on broadband access at Munyonyo. Jointly organized by the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), the ministry of ICT and the East African Communications Organization (EACO), the conference attracted over 250 delegates from the region.

“I think Africa can develop a smart sustainable model of a limitless Information and Communication Technology market, thanks to the coming of tablets, smart phones and the cloud, But to do this effectively, East African governments need to engage the private sector to strengthen broadband infrastructure and avail it to the last person down in the village.” Sanou said.

East Africa commissioned a 10,625-mile Seacom broadband cable at Mombasa in 2009 but internet access prices have remained very high, due to lack of state investment. One 2011 survey put Uganda’s lowest cost of monthly access to broadband at an average $120, compared to $40 in Kenya and $10 in China.

Sanou says this cost can be cut if regional states can develop neutralized broadband connectivity by bringing resources together and putting up comprehensive infrastructure where all telecom providers can be subscribers. Other officials, including UCC’s executive Director Godfrey Mutabazi, urged the region’s governments to urgently review the existing ICT policies, strengthen incentives to the private sector and promote innovation.

Credit: The Observer