KAMPALA – President Yoweri Museveni while touring the government BPO incubation center stationed at Uganda statistics house agreed to intervene and solve the high cost of bulk bandwidth which is hindering ICT sector growth.
The issue of high internet bandwidth costs came to the president attention after being raised by Information Technology Enabled Service and Business Process Outsourcing (ITES/BPO) stakeholders who hosted him at the Incubation center.
Because of the high cost, there is little development in the ICT sector, internet use, hence keeping out many people due to affordability issues leaving many people unemployed and causing economic stagnation.
The president was surprised to hear that the challenge has not been solved after government invested and laid a national backbone infrastructure from the sea area in Mombasa to Uganda.
“I think a lot of internet is coming in, the backbone is there, the pass way is now there, the route is there, so why can’t we have more users, why don’t you encourage having more (users), what is the problem,” the president wondered.
In a chorus response the president was told that the problem is price which emanates from service providers like SEACOM, a submarine cable operator with a network of submarine and terrestrial high speed fibre-optic cable that serves the East and West coasts of Africa.
They explained to the president that even with the backbone infrastructure in place, resources are not enough to have the challenge addressed.
When the president asked what kind of resource they lack and the cost required to have it addressed he was told that about $6mn is needed.
Additionally the ICT state minister Nyombi Thembo told the president that they have secured a loan worth $7mn from World Bank part of which will be to increase bandwidth capacity.
“It’s good that you have invited me, I have now heard because I was aware that things were moving well because the backbone is there and undersea cables are there.
Now you are saying that although they are there, the money of purchasing, if it is not in a certain manner you will not get the best price, thank you very much I’m glad I came here.
I have picked that one up. I’m going to make sure that this issue of bulk purchase is solved.” The president said promisingly.
The Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Industry is one of the key areas Government of Uganda has identified as a long-term solution to addressing issues of unemployment amongst educated youths as well as to increase investment in area of Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES).
In 2011, the National Information Technology Authority (NITA-U) received supplementary funding from Government through the Ministry of ICT towards the setting up of a Government BPO Incubation Centre.
The Centre has been successfully established on 3rd and 4th Floors of Statistics House in Kampala.
The 240-seater BPO Incubation Centre is currently being run by three private sector Companies employing a total of 210 agents.
When operated at full capacity of 3 shifts per day, the Centre can employ over 750 agents and staff.