The Public Private Partnership Commission (PPPC) has signed a memorandum of understanding with regional internet service provider, UbuntuNet Alliance, a development that signifies progress of the Digital Malawi Project.
The partnership means UbuntuNet can commence operations of pulling internet from Maputo in Mozambique to a hub to be set up in Blantyre.
PPPC acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Audrey Mwala, said the project will initially target public universities before being expanded to private universities and other research centres.
“This is a contractual agreement where UbuntuNet is going to make available, through the Malawi Research and Education Network (Maren), high speed and affordable internet services for ten years valued at $1.9 million.
“This is a way of promoting education, so the PPPC is financing the project through the World Bank project called DigiMAp,” Mwala said.
UbuntuNet CEO, Matthews Mtumbuka, said rolling out of its internet services is likely to improve internet charges which are very high, ensure stability and speed of internet in the country.
“In all the countries where we provide these broadband and internet services, we have always been consistent and we have been providing reliable internet service and the same for Malawi because we are connecting Malawi from our point of service in Maputo up to the ocean,” Mtumbuka said.
Chief Director for e-government in the Ministry of Information, Civic education and Communications Technology, Francis Bisika, said the country should expect top notch graduates from institutions of higher learning once the project is complete.
Under the contract, UbuntuNet Alliance will make available an additional 1510 megabits per second (Mbps) to Maren at the Ubuntu Net’s point of presence in Blantyre for 10 years.
About 1200 Mbps of the capacity will be provided through a newly procured link between Blantyre and Maputo.
The digital Malawi project, among others, will ensure provision of free Wi-Fi in public institutions is funded by the World Bank Group to the tune of K52 billion