Operator Vodacom Tanzania has reportedly signed a contract with the country’s National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB) – the government-owned fibre optic cable infrastructure system.
The contract, said to be worth US$4.59 million, will allow the operator to use NICTBB to enhance connectivity in rural Tanzania. This Vodacom investment comes on top of an initial investment of US$6,223,500 in October 2021.
NICTBB is managed and operated by the Tanzania Telecommunications Corporation (TTCL Corporation) on behalf of the government through the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology.
The aim of the infrastructure is to enhance the use of ICT applications for sustainable socio-economic development including implementation of e-government, e-learning, e-health, e-commerce and more, both locally and globally. NICTBB roll-out began in 2009.
The deal, signed by TTCL Corporation Director General Mr Peter Ulanga and Vodacom Managing Director Sitholizwe Mdlalose, aims to improve Vodacom's voice and data traffic across the lake, central and southern regions of Tanzania.
Tanzanian press reports quote the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry Of Information, Communication and Information Technology (Communication), Dr Jim Yonazi, as saying: “The government's ICT vision is to get 80 per cent of the population to have access to broadband digital connectivity by 2025. The expansion of the national fibre backbone gets us closer to this goal."
The Tanzanian Daily News says that Vodacom Tanzania has been a key stakeholder in the usage of NICTBB infrastructure since 2012. A capacity leasing contract worth US$50 million was signed in 2012.
The NICTBB was in the news last November when the government announced plans to extend it to more countries in addition to its plan to have a 15,000-kilometre network by 2025.
So far Tanzania has extended its backbone to landlocked countries and bordering points along Burundi, Malawi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and Mozambique. Recent reports have suggested that the next target is to connect the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).