Huawei Malawi Country Director, Wan Wei has commended government for successfully implementing the National Fibre Backbone Project and the operationalizing of the Malawi Digital Broadcast Network Limited (MDBNL) that is responsible for managing the digital migration process for the country.
Wei whose company Huawei implemented the project, expressed the sentiments Monday in Lilongwe after Parliamentary Committee on Media, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) visited Dowa to tour various installations for MDBNL and the Fibre project last week.
He expressed great satisfaction with the level of commitment and skill transfer acceptance exhibited by Malawian engineers saying as Huawei, they are comfortable that everything is in good hands but at the same time he indicated that his company would be available for support services when need arises bearing in mind the ever-advancing technologies out there.
“As a contractor, we are happy that Malawi is able to manage the projects on its own without day to day involvement of us showcasing that the skill transfer and training we provided bore fruit,” Wei pointed out.
Adding that Huawei Malawi is happy to be involved in the project to improve internet connectivity and broadcast quality in the country as ‘that is the future of the nation that would see internet connectivity prices going down.’
Chairperson of the Committee, Samuel Kawale, who is also Member of Parliament for Dowa North East, said the project would enable people in the country to access cheaper internet connectivity and tune in to various television and radio stations adding that faster internet would auger well with Access to Information Law.
He pointed out that his committee plays an oversight role on Information Communication and Technology (ICT) related issues hence their visit to see the progress on the Digital Satellite equipment installation as way of complementing and supplementing Standing Orders as laid down by the Malawi National Assembly.
Kawale disclosed that, “We visited Malawi Digital Broadcasting transmitters at the highest peak of Dowa mountain. This is where they are transmitting TV signals to all districts in the central region.”
The Chairperson said this is transmitter number eight out of the 14 transmitters to be installed in the country.
He pointed out that the country would have “KiliyeKiliye”, digital signal by December 31, 2018.
“The second stop was the Dowa Council offices where we saw how the Fibre optic cables are connected at district councils. ESCOM is connecting all districts, apart from Likoma, with these cables. This will tremendously reduce costs of operations in all government offices. The citizens are the ones to benefit the most as efficiency in service delivery is expected to improve,” Kawale noted.
Making their presentations, after the site visit, officials from the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology, MDBNL and National Fiber Backbone Project, said the project was very important to the nation and expressed optimism that everything would become fully operational by December 31, 2018.
Chief Executive Officer for MDBNL, Dennis Chirwa said the project which has seen the installation of a 2 Kilowatts and 72 metres Tower and Modular Transmitter with an estimated life span of over 30 years would have a signal which would cover areas such as Kasungu, Dedza, and Chikangawa among others areas of the country.
He said the transmitter which was procured at a cost of $270,000 and constructed by the Malawi Defense Force Engineers has a 30 Channel service capacity and will beam Malawi Channels for free.
He said at present, the country has 18 television channels but would beam other international ones such as British Broadcasting Cooperation (BBC), Fox and France TV.
Head of Optic Fiber Communication, Chester Kabinda, said the project was important as it would ensure that government services are brought closer to people which would benefit ordinary Malawians.
Deputy Director for E- Government, Prosper Mopiwa said there was progress on the National Fiber Backbone Project and hoped that all areas would access the services by December 31, 2018.
Meanwhile Kawale has indicated that he would present the committee’s report in parliament when Parliament meets from May 4, 2018 and lobby for more financial support in the budget allocations for the projects to be a success.