Govt Extends Telecom Reach to Agago District, Boosts National Connectivity

By Mark Kawalya

Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, the Minister of ICT has commissioned a telecom site in the Agago district’s Lapono sub-county as part of the Access Infrastructure Program. The UCC/UCUSAF is an initiative that provides access to telecommunications to underserved and unserved areas of Uganda. These are areas that are not yet commercially viable for licensed telecom operators. 

Hon. Nyombi Thembo, the Executive Director of the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), gave the project a big boost by announcing the milestone on X. Dr. Baryomunsi, Hon. Thembo, joined him and emphasized the government’s commitment to guaranteeing that everyone has access to telecommunication services regardless of geographical location, economic standing or physical limitations.

The program is in line with various Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as SDG 10, which aims to reduce disparities in access to opportunities and resources. SDG 9 supports resilient infrastructure and sustainable industrialization. By increasing access to telecommunications, UCUSAF is fostering broader access to information and communication technologies, leveling the playing field, and bridging the digital divide.

Furthermore, by facilitating citizens’ access to information and participation in the digital economy, the initiative advances Sustainable Development Goal 11, which seeks to create safe, inclusive, and sustainable cities and human settlements.

The program has been executed through construction of GSM telecom tower Infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas. It also includes upgrading of GSM Masts from 2G to 3G, greenfield towers 3G/4G sites and installation of Internet Points of Presence at local government headquarters and the installation of Public Pay Phones. 

So far, the initiative has boosted the uptake of devices and internet usage, which has subsequently led to the expansion and development of creative ICT-based services and products, eventually resulting in higher socioeconomic production.

Every licensed telecom operator in the nation is mandated to contribute to the Uganda Communications Commission-managed Fund with a statutory 2% fee on their annual gross sales.

The fund, previously known as the Rural Communications Development Fund (RCDF), was founded in 2003 and was created to solve challenges related to population connectivity, access, affordability, and equity of ICT services.

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