The company implementing the Fiber Optic Backbone Project, Huawei Technologies reports that it started mounting fiber cables on Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi Limited’s (Escom) poles marking the official take-off of the long-awaited internet connectivity project.
According to the ITC company, the cables have covered a distance of 45 kilometers, and so far connected four districts of Blantyre, Chiradzulu, Zomba and Machinga.
Speaking after touring the cable lines and distribution points in Blantyre, Machinga and Zomba districts on Friday, Minister of Information and Communication Technologies, Nicholas Dausi, expressed satisfaction with how the work has started.
Dausi said within a period of two weeks, four districts have already been covered, and said this was a clear indication that by December this year, the whole country will be connected with the fast internet fiber optic technology.
“Malawi has been lugging behind in terms of internet connectivity. This is because we never had fiber connections. Today, we are witnessing the rolling out of the much-awaited project, which will put our country at par with others in terms of internet connectivity,” said Dausi.
Once completed, the Minister said Malawians will no longer have problems with the speed of the internet, and that delivery of services in the country will greatly improve.
“There are a number of sectors that will benefit from this programme. Some of them include banks, the Immigration Department and mobile phone network providers,” said Dausi.
Moreover, he said because the internet will be faster and easily accessible by many, students will also have the opportunity to learn and conduct their research on the internet and also participate in electronic learning (E-Learning) programmes in and outside Malawi.
Dausi added, “we will also take advantage of the connectivity to show to the world what our agriculture products are, and through that way, we will be increasing our export and trade with other nations.”
The fiber connection is also expected to improve the area of health as doctors will perform operations in collaboration with other doctors from outside the country via the internet.
Furthermore, the project is set to strengthen the country’s Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS), thus controlling and or preventing the siphoning of Government resources.
On his part, Wan Wei, Managing Director for Huawei Technologies, said the company expects to finish the project by December this year.
“We are working hard so that before the rains start, we should be through. We will have teams in all the districts, and we expect to employ 350 people out of which 300 will be Malawians, while 50 will be from China,” said Wei.
Meanwhile, Wei said the company has constructed 37 connection points where the internet will be loaded and offloaded.
President Arthur Peter Mutharika commissioned the Fiber Backbone Project on April 27, 2017 at Bingu International Convention (BICC) Center in Lilongwe.