The Ugandan government aims to significantly reduce the monthly cost of internet bandwidth provided through its fiber optic national backbone infrastructure. Within a year, the plan is to lower the cost from $35 to $5, marking an 86% reduction. This announcement came during the signing of a memorandum of understanding with MasterCard by Godfrey Kabbyanga, the Minister of State for ICT.

Building upon a prior 50% reduction in August 2023, where the cost was initially $70 per megabit per second per month, the government is striving for further reductions. Despite the previous cut stabilizing costs and expanding access, the government deems it necessary to achieve more substantial reductions. Kabbyanga emphasized the importance of this initiative, especially in enhancing the information management systems of the parish model being implemented in over 10,000 parishes nationwide.

The broader context involves the Ugandan government's commitment to accelerating digital transformation, supporting economic recovery, creating opportunities for the youth, and realizing "Vision 2040." In March 2023, the government received 1.8 trillion Ugandan shillings ($464.2 million) from the World Bank to expand internet access. Additionally, negotiations are underway for a $150 million loan from China Eximbank to further develop the country's internet infrastructure.

By reducing the cost of public internet, the Ugandan government aims to not only facilitate greater internet adoption but also hopes to incentivize private players to lower their prices. This ripple effect is anticipated to contribute to an overall reduction in the cost of internet in the country, addressing the growing demand for connectivity.

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