We all know not everybody has access to the internet countrywide and so ZICTA has urged broadband service providers in Zambia to step up and increase their coverage to even the remotest areas and allow people in those areas access the internet to help them stay connected and informed about everything happening the world over.
ZICTA already has been a major key player in promoting access to the internet by being a part of a program with the Zambia Postal Service to have public internet access centres as it has offices in almost every town/district. They also partnered with the street naming exercise of the National Postcode and Addressing System in order to have all their data stored online so that emergency services can track locations via GPS satellite services.
There’s so many uses for broadband access that could improve the lives of people in far flung areas. One example is in the health sector. Rural clinic medical officers have been known to send images of patient disease cases to the doctors in urban areas in order to get a diagnosis. It’s much faster than waiting on a doctor to travel, but with better and faster internet access they can make video calls in real time or even research better on a case to get a proper diagnosis of what condition a patient might have.
“Broadband facilitates efficiency in various sectors. In healthcare delivery, it creates opportunities for doctors and healthcare specialists to work together as a virtual team with specialists located in any part of the world,” Acting Director General for ZICTA, Mulenga Chisanga said at the ZICTA Discussion Forum on Broadband for Sustainable Development, on Wednesday, 28th May, 2014.
It’s about high time we stopped thinking data is just a preserve of the elite and make sure the coverage spreads all over at affordable rates, seeing as right now the rates are pretty high generally. Speaking of data rates, Zambia has some of the highest in the region and Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education Systems Development Chief Dr Charles Ndakala even urged internet providers to come up with specialised rates for the education system that allow special affordable rates to carry out research as ICTs are now a major part of education curriculums.
ZICTA has done its part by installing 169 towers in rural areas nationwide to improve access so now its up to all the major ISPs to play their part and make internet connectivity even more accessible, affordable and faster.