In a cabinet resolution made this week on Monday, the government of Uganda through the Ministry of ICT proposed to cut the costs on internet devices and push up broadband access. The government pledged to double-up access to broadband internet and reduce costs of internet devices such as smartphones and laptops.
This came a few days after the Minister for ICT and National Guidance; Hon. Dr. Chris Baryomunsi pledged to the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) how his ministry intends to introduce several improvements to the sector.
The government also agreed to integrate broadband infrastructure in the planning and development of major infrastructures such as roads, railways, energy, and oil pipelines. This means that while building communication infrastructure like laying fiber access, all stakeholders including; telecom companies will agree to have a common path.
The cabinet also embraced the mixing of technologies to provide broadband connectivity by deploying the most suitable solution based on the context and circumstances on the ground.
This is a strategic intervention by the Cabinet geared towards the improvement of the level of broadband connectivity & affordability in the country.
This will usher in licensing of the newer radio technologies such as the anticipated 5G data speeds and more access to fiber at homes. However, the government was not clear on how it will embrace ” the mixing of technologies “.
In a communication report by UCC, as of March 2021, broadband subscriptions stood at 21.5 million, with an observed net addition of 120,000 new subscriptions. While the quarterly net additions have not matched the more than 1 million subscriptions posted in 4Q20, this is still considerable growth given the internet and social media restrictions during the period, and the traditional network churns that usually follow the December peaks.
In the same report, over 200,000 smartphones were added within the quarter (Q1 2021) growing from 7.9 Million smartphones in December 2020 to 8.1 million in March 2021.