Minister of Information, Communications Technology and Civic Education Patricia Kaliati has launched the Malawi virtual landing point to improve Internet access at Bingu International Conference Centre (Bicc) in Lilongwe.
Speaking during the launch last Wednesday, Kaliati said the virtual landing point was a timely communication infrastructure which will make cross-border trade and investment easier.
“Effective and affordable communication infrastructure plays a pivotal role in facilitating international trade and global investment flow. Government embarked on this invaluable project upon recognising that expensive broadband and Internet connectivity constituted a serious barrier to Malawi’s doing business indicators,” she said.
Kaliati said prior to the project, Malawi depended largely on expensive satellite connectivity for Internet needs.
“The high cost of connectivity meant that access to Internet services was a privilege of the rich. This is unacceptable. That is why government decided to pursue the option of establishing a fibre optic connectivity through Tanzania and Zambia,” the minister said.
Government, together with the World Bank, established the Regional Infrastructure Communication Programme Malawi Project (RCIPMW) to support the necessary legal and regulatory reforms in the communication sector aimed at lowering the cost of broadband connectivity.
“Through an international competitive tender process and a carefully designed public private partnership arrangement, an experienced investor SimbaNet of East Africa was contracted to deliver Internet capacity at the virtual landing point at Capital Hill in Lilongwe at the cost of less than $200 (about K140 000) per megabyte per second a massive reduction from $3000 (about K2.1million) prior to the project,” said Kaliati.
She further said affordable capacity will promote access to Internet by government institutions, the private sector and Malawians in general.
In his remarks, Wananchi Group chief executive officer of Santiago Benedit said it has been a long journey that they embarked on in 2014.
“This is the outcome of a very successful Public Private Partnership and I appreciate the Government of Malawi progressive approach towards national development,” said Benedit.
The coming in of Malawi virtual landing point will see the price of internet down by 75 percent.