Tanzania’s Minister for Communications, Science and Technology, Prof Makame Mbarawa Mnyaa, says that the build-out of Phase II of the country’s National Information Communications Technology Broadband Backbone infrastructure (NICTBB) will soon start delivering citizens with fast, efficient and affordable data traffic to support a range of industries, including e-education, telemedicine, e-agriculture, e-commerce, and e-governance – even in the remotest parts of the country. According to the minister, a total of 59 districts have already been connected to the new backbone, with that figure set to rise to 80 by the end of the current build phase. At the same date the NICTBB is expected to have hooked up all of the country’s 21 regional headquarters; the figure currently stands at 15 (end-Phase I). Finally, Phase III will see the rest of Tanzania’s districts connected up to the national network. The 5,300km long NICTBB is being constructed by the International Telecommunication Construction Corporation (CITCC) of China at the cost of TZS238 billion (USD152 million) – mainly thanks to a soft loan provided by Chinese Exim Bank.
CITCC Tanzania is currently working on the construction of Phase II’s southern ring, which comprises a fibre-optic cable spanning from Dar es Salaam to Lindi and Mtwara. From Mtwara, the NICTBB will connect to Songea where it will meet a cable being laid from Njombe. This stage of the project is expected to be completed by July 2012, while the building of a further western ring will commence soon and will connect Tunduma (at the Tanzania/Zambia border) with Biharamulo in north-western Tanzania, passing though Sumbawanga, Mpanda, and Kigoma. This stage is scheduled for completion by March 2013.