The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) is to spend over $100m (sh176b) on development of Information Technology (IT) infrastructure in rural areas, an official has said. The commission's fund manager for the Rural Communication Development Fund (RCDF), Bob Lyazi, said: "We are planning to spend $100m in the next three years to develop IT infrastructure in rural areas that were identified as unprofitable by telecommunication companies."

The RCDF was established in 2003 to partner with the private sector. It aims at contributing to the high costs required to establish ICT projects in rural areas. "We have already established 55 training centres and 55 Internet cafes in each of the old districts. We are establishing 24 Internet cafes and 24 training centres in the new districts," he said in an interview at Communications House in Kampala. Lyazi said they had established 56 points of presence and were rolling out into the new districts.

"We have set up 54 websites in the 54 districts. Another 24 will be set up. All these are expected to be operational by June. All districts will be covered," he said. Lyazi said the commission had established 136 public pay phones in areas that were identified as unprofitable. "We are in the process of developing 2,269 public pay phones by the end of this year. They will be scattered countrywide in the 154 sub-counties. By the end of the year, there will be no sub-county without a public phone," Lyazi explained.

(SOUCE: New Vision)