Monday February 24 2014

Government should invest in Internet infrastructure

By Dorman Ahumuza

The Internet has changed the way we do business today. Online transactions account for trillions of dollars. It is easier and convenient to shop online these days and avoid the hassle of going to shops. That aside, more national utilities are now interlinked on the World Wide Web for service and distribution. Energy companies, telecom and transport, among others.

What makes all this innovation possible is the speed of broadband Internet, which is getting even faster. This has completely changed the way we do things, but going forward, let the change happen in politics, entertainment or business.

For example, you can upload and broadcast anything happening around the world in seconds on YouTube, Facebook or Twitter. These days, it is possible to stream movies, listen to music or make calls through the Internet.

The apps world has also changed the way we know software. These days, everything is properly packaged in apps - many of these are free from your apps store like Google play or iTunes and they can be downloaded wirelessly in seconds. Also, new cars, TVs, fridges and a host of other appliances are now Internet ready. You can programme them away from home remotely.

This brings us to the big issue: Governments in emerging markets need to invest in Internet infrastructure and upgrading to fibre optics technology where it is not available. This is a sure way of laying the foundation for a robust sustainable economy. This will create invaluable opportunities and immense possibilities for our people.

There is no need to waste money on bloated defence budgets, buying armaments and accumulating military arsenals. History has proved that such decisions are purely wastage of scarce national resources. Our poor people could use better infrastructure, roads, hospitals and schools. We can improve all these crucial sectors by investing in technology.