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US$23m fibre backbone project underway in Malawi

Malawi initiates USm fibre backbone project

The Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom), in association with Huawei Technologies, has begun with the implementation of a US$23 million national fibre backbone project.

The fibre network is scheduled for implementation across 28 districts to facilitate the integration of government operating systems as well as increase internet access and address mobile communication challenges.

Chester Kabinda, Escom head of optic fibre communication, said, "In addition to improving inter-connectivity, this project will also reduce corruption and theft within the government machinery as it will lead to enhanced connected and overall efficiency of Integrated Financial Management and Information System (IFMIS), Human Resources Management Information System (HRMIS), and the Immigration and National Registration and Identification System."

He added that approximately 300 Malawians will be employed during the implementation phase of the project.

Escom has however warned consumers to expect blackouts for the next six months.

Kabinda said implementation will mean having to switch off power because optic fibre cables will be deployed on power transmission lines.

Victor Malewa, Deputy Director in the department of e-government Ministry of Information and Communications Technology, said the project will also improve access to broadband and internet services.

Malawi has a population of just over 17 million people. According to a 2016 report by BuddeComm research, the country's market penetration rate for internet users stood at 6.8%, while that of mobile phone users was recorded at 38.3%.

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