Uganda Government reduces Internet charges by half

NITA-U Executive Director Dr Hatwib Mugasa addresses journalists at the media centre on August 1, 2023.

NITA-U Executive Director Dr Hatwib Mugasa addresses journalists at the media centre on August 1, 2023.

The National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U) has announced a reduction in the cost of Internet bandwidth from $70 (about Shs254,000) to $35 (about Shs127,000) per megabyte, per second, per month.

Addressing journalists at the Uganda Media Centre on Tuesday, 01 August 2023, NITA-U Executive Director Dr Hatwib Mugasa together with Dr Chris Baryomunsi, the Minister for ICT and National Guidance, said that the updated prices, which take effect immediately, are meant to lower the cost of doing business while promoting ICT growth in the country.

“Our resolve and commitment at NITA-U is to further low bandwidth costs, deepen digitization, accelerate e-services usage while at the same time lowering government expenditure through shared IT services like Internet and centralized hosting,” Dr Mugasa said.

He explained that roll out of the Uganda Digital Acceleration Project-UDAP which will extend internet coverage from the current 53 major districts and ten border points to the entire country, including every parish, will further lower the Internet costs.

“At NITA-U we’ve been working hard to consistently lower the cost of internet bandwidth in Uganda especially for Government institutions since they provide onward services to ordinary citizens and the private sector,” he said.

“In the following weeks we will invite you here once more to launch the Uganda Digital Acceleration program (UDAP) or GovNet project that will propel NITA-U to extend connectivity to 95% government offices, districts. And we believe upon completion of this project Government will further internet prices making it the most affordable in the region,” Dr Mugasa added.

Dr Baryomunsi said the reduction implies that users connected to NITA-U services through the National Backbone Infrastructure will now have access to the cheapest internet service in the market.

He further described halving the cost of internet bandwidth as a milestone that will not only reduce government expenditure but also catalyse the adoption of e-Government Services, attract more internet users and ultimately deepen digitization.

Dr Baryomunsi added that the ripple effects of the government’s action will influence the prevailing retail internet prices on the market leading to improvements in the accessibility and affordability of internet services, ultimately benefiting the population and potentially increasing internet penetration in Uganda.

NITA-U started offering internet services in 2013 primarily to government entities and offices. However, along the way the agency, expanded its services to encompass the private sector and special interest groups like innovation hubs, education institutions and Wi-Fi hotspots.

From the FY 2017/2018 to-date NITA-U has maintained a steady rate of $70 for each Mbps of Internet following a competitive market analysis against the average market rate which is currently at $84.

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