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NITA ED, Dr Hatwib Mugasa Commissions The “Last Mile Project” of the NBI Before Launch

The Last Mile Project of the National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI).

The National Information Technology Authority (NITA) Uganda, Executive Director; Dr. Hatwib Mugasa on Friday officially commissioned the “Last Mile Project” that will see over 700 Government offices connected to the National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) and a set-up of 300 Wi-Fi hotspots across 58 districts. The Last Mile Project aims at achieving it’s full potential through connecting internet to the final consumer.

The commission was held in Mbarara where Mugasa and his team from NITA Uganda along with some Government officials inspected the project starting with the Transmission site that will be used as the switching and distribution centre of the NBI in Mbrarara.

After inspecting the Transmission Site, they visited the National Security Social Fund (NSSF) Mbarara office which is connected to the NBI under Last Mile Project and is expected to bring services closer to the citizens.

The inspection concluded at CamTech; an innovation and technology hub based in Mbarara. NITA Uganda provides internet, technical and financial support to the hub towards their Annual Medical Tech Hackathons.

CamTech applauded NITA Uganda for providing the “best” internet at Campus (Mbarara University of Science and Technology) emphasizing that it has enabled continuity of innovations during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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While visiting the National Data Center in Jinja in February this, the State Minister of ICT and National Guidance: Hon. Peter Ogwang said NITA Uganda completed three NBI phases with the fourth phase almost in its completion.

He further told reporters that the fifth phase of the NBI project will be launched after the fourth phase is completed and will address the issue of connectivity to the final customers like; Health Centers and Schools around the country. We therefore assume that the Fifth Phase of the NBI project is the Last Mile Project.

Meanwhile, the Fourth Phase of the NBI extended internet connectivity to districts of Pakwach, Nebbi, Arua, Yumbe, Koboko, Adjumani, Katakwi and the boarder points of, Oraba, Vurra and Mpondwe. The phase also positioned Uganda as a regional communications transit hub — this includes laying the groundwork for an eventual backbone connection between the submarine cables on the east and west coasts of Africa

NITA Uganda with funding from the World Bank implemented the National Backbone Infrastructure and eGovernment Infrastructure (NBI/EGI) project to connect districts and towns across the country. This included Government offices via an optical fibre cable network so as to reduce the cost of the internet.

As a result of these connections the cost of internet of across Government entities has progressively reduced from USD$1,200 (roughly UGX4,472,880) per Mbps monthly USD$70 (roughly UGX260,918) per Mbps monthly. The cost was projected to drop further to USD$50 (roughly UGX186,370) by the end of 2020, however Saaka said, “the cost of internet to should drop further to USD$20 (roughly UGX74,548) per Mbps and he was confident NITA Uganda will achieve this.” He made these remarks while he was handing over office to Mugasa in August this year.

The overall objective of the project is to; create a secure high-speed network that connects all Government MDAs, District Local Governments, Municipal Councils, Hospital, and Schools as well as lower the cost of communication across Government and spur the development of online Government services.

The deployment of the eGovernment platform as part of the NBI/EGI project has led to the increased transparency of Government activities, enabled departments to share public data and enhance inter-departmental coordination, reduced government administration costs, and generally improved work efficiency.

Writer’s Note: This article will be updated often.

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