By Nambalirwa Jane
Tumwebaze  has been fighting to achieve low data costs.The only queries on Ministry of finance’s decision is that UTL supplies Internet to all MDAS are;  While it’s s a good promise from UTL to offer cheaper Internet, we need to examine scientifically UTL’s ability to do so sustainably since it has been a player in the telecom market but has not offered the same cheaper Internet? Secondly, govt invested almost $200m  dollars in building  backbone fibre infrastructure. The same govt has been buying Internet through the same backbone under NITA. So when now a private operator UTL takes over supply of Internet to govt and resorts back to the private market, what will be the fate of the huge govt investment in the backbone ? Ministry of finance which sits on NITA board and as the Ministry in charge of planning should have advised govt corectly on the rationale of taking up these huge loans to invest in the back borne. If UTL has capacity to offer cheap Internet why can’t they do so on the market and out-compete the other telecoms? Then automatically all businesses both from govt and private people will go to them. A mistake also that was made by govt in 2007 when it borrowed  $100m from China Exim bank to finance the backbone was that; It never defined correctly a policy on broadband(Internet) infrastructure. Telecoms were allowed to continue investing in their own private infrastructure..When they invest in their own infrastructure, they have to recoup their monies through high data prices..In Ethiopia govt forced all telecoms to use the govt built fibre…It’s not easy to force the telecoms in Uganda to use the government fibre bse they have already invested heavily in theirs. Govt will be sued and forced to compensate them..

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