Tanzania President Dr. Suluhu Samia was the chief guest as Tanzania Community Network Alliance (TCNA) signed a contract to deploy 758 internet towers that will build Community Networks.
The 758 towers will reach 1,407 villages and are projected to benefit a population of 8,512,952 million people. Largely covering rural parts of Tanzania, the initiative is meant to address the digital gap in the vast East African country.
According to Internet Society, Community Networks, which also serve as non-profits, have demonstrated the capacity to offer sustainable solutions in tackling the digital gaps, especially in addressing connectivity setbacks in under-served areas such as rural setups across the globe
The President said that this deployment will enable farmers to embrace technology and the use of smart devices.
“Community Networks in the villages using Wi-Fi and Intranet will make our farmers change from basic phones to smartphones” stated Dr. Suluhu.
Only about 50% of the Tanzanian population has access to the Internet. The deployment of community networks in Tanzania has been helping to bridge the gap.
Parnerships Key in Building Community Networks
Community networks have enabled schools and tele-centres to implement digital literacy programs.
TCNA has worked with corporates and non-profits to expand its network. They have partnered with Vodacom Foundation through the Africa Child Project and Basic Internet Foundation.
Additionally, they have partnerships with UNICEF, the World Bank, UCSAF, and Renewal International. These partnerships have enabled them to donate smart devices to schools and telecenters across rural Tanzania.
This is another huge move for the country coming after, the President launched Raddy Fiber Manufacturing Ltd with the capacity to produce 24,000 Kms of fiber last year in November.
Funded by the World Bank, under Digital Tanzania Project, the aim is to ensure over 75% of the country has access to broadband.
The contract signed will see the Community networks cover 127 Tanzanian districts and has been termed as “a first of its kind”.