Public and private universities and research institutions across the country will soon start enjoying excellent internet services to be provided by UbuntuNet Alliance, a specialized Internet Service Provider (ISP) for universities and research centers in Eastern and Southern Africa.
The development comes after the Government, through the Ministry of Information, Civic Education and Communications Technology awarded UbuntuNet Alliance a 10- year contract to provide the services to the country’s universities through the Malawi Research and Education Network (MAREN) an association of higher learning institutions in Malawi.
A statement released by the Ministry says the official signing of the contract agreement between the two entities will take place on Thursday, 23rd January 2020 in Blantyre, Malawi.
“UbuntuNet Alliance will provide our universities with large, fast and stable internet connectivity. Such connectivity will also assist our universities in accessing digital repositories that are available to the rest of the academic community worldwide, pursue research collaborations across institutions, nations and continents; access to digital platforms online and provide a common login across campuses, et cetera,” reads the statement.
Under the contract, UbuntuNet Alliance will provide 1200 Mbps to MAREN through a link that will be procured between Blantyre and Maputo, Mozambique.
The contract is part of the government’s Digital Malawi project funded by the World Bank Group to the tune of K52 billion.
Among others the project aims to extend and improve access to critical connectivity services especially the Internet for the public and private sectors; to improve ICT governance in the country; to improve access to government services; and to facilitate provision of e-services thereby enhancing public service delivery.
Confirming the agreement on behalf of UbuntuNet Alliance, CEO, Matthews Mtumbuka hailed the decision by the Government to sign the deal with the Alliance saying it will transform research and education networking in the country.
“This contract agreement will, without doubt, change the landscape of research and education collaboration between Malawian Universities and their peers from within our region, the African continent and even in Europe and America. Our internet connectivity is not only affordable and fast but also dedicated for research and education collaboration.
“Malawian Universities will soon be able to reap huge benefits of associating with us like is the case in countries like Uganda, Zambia and Somalia where they are plenty success stories,” says Mtumbuka who also extended gratitude to the World Bank for supporting the deal.
UbuntuNet Alliance plans, builds and operates UbuntuNet, a high-speed internet network dedicated to research and education in Eastern and Southern Africa.
The Alliance promotes and supports the integration of advanced ICT services and tools in research, teaching and learning, taking advantage of the opportunities that come with the Internet. It was established in 2005 and now has 16 countries, including Malawi as members.
Recently, the Alliance and two other regional research and education networks from West and Northern Africa signed a € 36m deal with the European Union to extend their networks across the continent in the next four years.