As confidently confirmed by President
Also, the transport/backhaul costs paid by operators have decreased by 99 per cent from
Going digital in
Indicators promised in Mkukuta II
Mkukuta II—Monitoring-Master-Plan (2012)—promises that the government will document a set of monitoring indicators for all the clusters, including the tools for data collection, timing, responsibilities, institutional arrangement for data collection, analysis and dissemination. That is, it will spell-out the major requirements for reporting for both upward and downward accountability. It is further pledged that the role of the private sector and ICT usage would be scaled-up. Nevertheless, there is no indicator in the plan to directly track the ICT sector performance. In
In the review, 15 sector indicators—teledensity, tariff, interconnection rates, number of internet subscribers, number of internet service providers, number of internet users, number of faults per 100 fixed lines, volume of traffic, number of public internet access centers, number of personal computers, investment level, number of radio sets, number of TV sets, number of listeners of radio and TV, and multi-channel subscribers—were identified to be suitable for monitoring the sector performance.
Only four of these—teledensity, tariff, number of internet service providers and volume of traffic—were identified as key monitoring indicators.
Existing indicators inadequate
Appropriate indicators are signposts for anyone who is a vision career. Such indicators, when monitored, measured, and recorded properly, would show whether the vision is being realized. Consider the National Telecommunications Policy of 1997 (NTP-1997). In this policy, the government had set a national target using the teledensity indicator to 6 per cent by 2020. That is to have at least 6 telephones per 100 people.
The target was technology specific: using fixed line telephony. Then, in 1998, initially as a value-added-service, mobile telephony was introduced. Notably, in 2001, the number of mobile subscribers exceeded the number of fixed-line subscribers. In 2005, the teledensity (mobile + fixed telephony) reached 10.1 per cent, which is well above 6 per cent.
Consequently, the NTP-1997 target was achieved 16 years to the deadline. At the time of setting such a target, the average cost to offer one telephone connection was
Today, the indicator does not really tell much given that the sector regulatory framework is now technology neutral. Furthermore, teledensity focuses more on individuals (per capita) while our lifestyles are more community-based. Therefore, teledensity is unsuitable for monitoring the impact and effectiveness of developmental and/or universal services initiatives. Notably, also is that teledensity is based on countrywide geography.
For example, if only the population of Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Shinyanga and Mbeya were to have telephones, and all other regions to have nothing, still
Additionally, teledensity can go above 100 per cent, in respect of mobile phone penetration. This is evident in countries like
For argument's sake, three sources of reporting are considered here: the
The IDI is a composite index combining 11 indicators into one benchmark measure (presented on a scale from 0 to 10) that monitors and compares developments in ICT across countries.
The IDI is divided into three sub-indices: the access sub index, the use sub-index and the skills sub-index, each capturing different aspects and components of the ICT development process. The WEF/INSEAD model, using the NRI, expands the ITU model in tracking 53 indicators, grouped into ten pillars, and these pillars are grouped into four sub-indexes: Environment, Readiness, Usage, and Impact indicators. In this case: The environment, readiness and usage are drivers for generating the desired socio-economic impacts.
Analysis: ranking of EAC countries
In contrast, in 2011 the IDI rankings of EAC countries, using the format IDI (Rank out of 157 countries) were:
I wonder: if these simplistic, emotive, and well-marketed data are the only ones that make it to the global stage. If so, should this not raise an alarm? Are these rankings accurate?
Astonishing are the NRI scores for the Readiness sub index (Infrastructure, affordability and Skills). In 2012 report:
It is time to formulate new indicators to strengthen the way we report about our ICT activities and achievements. It is strongly recommended we go for composite indicators, like the NRI or IDI. Given that we are in a technology-neutral, broadband-ready environment, and converged regulatory environment, it is time for TCRA and the
Dr Zaipuna Yonah is a consulting engineer in ICTs and a senior lecturer at the
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