Zanzibar — POOR mobile phone and internet connection may soon be a thing of the past should the ongoing efforts to address challenges of broadband access in rural and underserved areas succeed.
Telecommunication experts attending the 5th session of the Universal Service Access Funds (USAF) Forum in Zanzibar said there were promising results in search for solutions to clear hitches in accessing communications services in rural areas.
The meeting held at Kiwengwa, in north Zanzibar, was organized by the Intel Management and the Universal Communications Services Access Fund (UCSAF), and engaged key USAF leaders in sharing experiences, challenges and ideas that will help connect Africa.
The delegates observed that IT was critical that "African governments and the public sector work together more closely than ever to deliver universal broadband access across the continent if it is to drive economic growth, create jobs and provide a range of economic and social benefits."
Officials from regulatory authorities, USAF managers, government officials and broadband stakeholders in Zanzibar also attended the four-day meeting.
Mr Ralph Corey, a director with the World Ahead Programme at Intel, said "IT is vital that USAF funds are utilized for broadband adoption if we are to unlock the transformative benefits for all Africa's people, as many remain unserved."
Dr Florens Turuka, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communication, Science and Technology, informed the participants that the government was committed to ensuring the plans' success."
In his key address, Zanzibar's Second Vice- President Mr Seif Ali Iddi said "the benefits of broadband should not be underestimated as several case studies have detailed wide-ranging benefits of broadband networks. These include expanded economic opportunities and innovation."