Monday, September 28, 2009

Uganda to Outsource Management of its Backbone Project

Through the newly set up National Information Technology Authority-Uganda (NITA-U), government plans to outsource management of both the national backbone infrastructure (NBI) and the E-Government Infrastructure (EGI) to a private manager.

The move to find a private manager is aimed at providing an efficient service to the users of both in government and the private sector, according to Godfrey Kiirya, the principal information scientist at the Ministry of Information Communication Technology (MOICT).

He said that the first phase of laying the country's optic fibre cable has been completed and it covers the major towns of Jinja in eastern Uganda, Entebbe south of Kampala and Bombo which is to the north of Kampala.

He said the second phase, which is scheduled for implementation this financial year will involve laying 1,543 kilometers of optic fibre cable that will link the major towns of Jinja, Bugiri, Busia, Tororo and Mbale in eastern Uganda. The other cable will be laid to link Luwero, Nakasongora and Masindi in central region and will extend to Gulu in the north. This will be followed by laying a cable from Masaka in the south to Mbarara, Ntungamo, Kabale to Katuna in southwestern Uganda.

"The project also includes building a network operating centre with modern Internet Exchange Points in the major towns," Kiirya told The East African Business Week in an interview last week.

He said the project will roll out a voice and video network across government offices and agencies. "We will also procure Internet services centrally through the use of the Common Internet Gateway that will be based at the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC)," he said.

"We shall have back up equipment to be installed in government departments to ensure downtime delivery of government services and expand the network to other 16 towns among others," he said.

The third phase will cover 408 kilometres linking the towns of Kumi, Soroti and Lira in the north east and the towns Mbarara, Bushenyi to Kasese in western Uganda. "We have been directed by Members of Parliament on the ICT committee to identify the fourth phase that will cover the West Nile region in north western Uganda and Karamoja in the north east of Uganda.

Implementation of the three phases has been enabled by a loan from the Export and Import Bank of China worth $106.7 million. "So we are still looking for funds to implement the fourth phase," he said.

(Source: East African Business Week via Balancing Act's News Update)