19 November 2017
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Friday, 10 November 2017 11:54

National optic fibre backbone project on course-Minister

Written by  Rodney Majawa

Dausi - File photo

Blantyre, November 10, MANA: Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Nicholas Dausi says the construction of the ongoing national optic fibre backbone network is progressing impressively.  

Dausi made the sentiments on Thursday in an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) on the progress of the project which commenced in August (2017) and is being implemented by a Chinese – based telecommunications and internet firm, Huawei Technologies as sub-contractor.

“The ongoing national optic fibre backbone network project is impressively progressing right from its commencement in August, this year.

“Huawei Technologies, fully mandated to mount fibre cables on existing ESCOM poles to ensure that the whole nation gets connected to the internet, is doing a very good job,” Dausi said.

The minister, who sounded to be upbeat about the project, said the initiative was aimed at speeding up internet connectivity in general and enhancing general service delivery countrywide and beyond.

However, Dausi said the undertaking faced some hurdles on the onset, citing inadequate personnel on site and unnecessary delays in shipping of cables and other accessories. He was however quick to point out that Huawei had since rectified some of the challenges.

“It is quite pleasing that the implementing firm has worked on some of the problems which were encountered at the beginning of the project to ensure a smooth delivery of the project,” he said. 

Speaking in a separate interview with Mana, the ministry’s director, Gedion Munthali, concurred with Dausi, saying work was indeed progressing well on the project with cables and distribution points installed in Blantyre, Chiradzulu, Zomba and Machinga in just under two weeks.
“So far, so good, I can assure you that everything is on course. Imagine that within a period of two weeks the cable lines were strewn and distribution points were competently installed covering four districts,” Munthali said.

Some of the benefits the country stands to get from the national optic fibre backbone include enabling students conduct research on internet and participate in electronic learning (E – learning), improve agriculture and health and assist in managing resources by strengthening the integrated management financial management information systems.

Meanwhile, the project has already covered a distance of 45 kilometres in the four districts and it is estimated to cover a distance of 1320 kilometres countrywide upon completion. It has a total budget of US$23 million (an equivalent of K165 billion). 

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