The Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) has reiterated its commitment to championing Zambia’s digital transformation agenda by promoting cost-reflective and affordable pricing for internet and other ICT products and services.
ZICTA Acting Director-General, Pethel Phiri, said ZICTA continues to promote universal access to ICTs by not only providing connectivity to unserved and underserved communities, but by also implementing various regulatory measures aimed at ensuring that ICT products and services on the Zambian market are affordable to consumers.
In a statement issued by ZICTA Corporate Communications Manager Hanford Chaaba, Mrs Phiri indicated that internet affordability was central to the attainment of a fullyfledged digital economy.
She explained that while Zambia was ranked 6th in terms of data affordability within the region, more should be done to improve the ranking and ultimately facilitate wider digital adoption.
Mrs Phiri said this when the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) paid a courtesy visit to her office during their fact finding mission to establish diplomatic internet data corridors from the undersea cables into Malawi in order to reduce the cost of internet in that country.
Leader of the delegation and MACRA Director General, Daud Suleman, stated that the Government of Malawi was keen to achieve digital transformation, and underscored the critical role of data in the overall transformation process.
Mr. Suleman said the internet data prices in Malawi are comparatively higher than the Zambian prices, and has attributed the high prices to his country’s geographical positioning resulting in high IP-transit and international bandwidth costs.
He added that there was a need for key infrastructure to support the surge in demand for data services, and that establishing dedicated internet corridors into Malawi from other neighbouring countries in the region is vital to addressing the high cost of internet.
Mr. Suleman said Malawi identified Zambia as a key strategic partner in this fact finding mission because of the two countries’ shared historical and cultural heritage as well as the similarities in regulatory as well geographical demographics.
ZICTA Acting Director General welcomed the initiative by MACRA and committed to a continued spirit of mutually beneficial cooperation and collaboration between the two institutions.
In 2017, ZICTA and MACRA signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at enhancing ICT and Postal cross border collaboration between the two countries.