Internet subscriptions in Tanzania have gone up by almost 45 percent in the past five years, in a trend that the regulating agency ascribed to the expansion of online content in the native Kiswahili language.
According to the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority's (TCRA) latest update on statistical trends, subscriptions increased steadily from 23.81 million in 2018 to 34.47 million by September 2023 at an average annual rate of 7.8 percent.
Figures for the three months from July 1 to September 30 this year showed a 287.8 percent jump in fixed wireless internet subscriptions from 7,496 to 21,574 while mobile internet subscriptions grew just 1.3 percent from 33.96 million to 34.39 million.
However, TCRA published its report for October against the backdrop of increasing public ire over a controversial move by the regulator last month to impose restrictions on the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to access online content.
Read: Over 22m phone users in Tanzania unregistered - TCRAIn its October 13 public notice, TCRA issued a two-week ultimatum for individuals and companies "who by the nature of their undertakings VPN use is indispensable” to register their Internet Protocol (IP) addresses with the authority along with details of VPN providers they were using.
It set the deadline for compliance on October 30 and warned that it would follow up with "regulatory actions against unauthorised use of VPNs including disabling access to such VPNs."But several stakeholders have threatened court action to protest the TCRA order and at least one political opposition party, ACT Wazalendo, said it would use the public outcry over the move.
On the rising numbers of dedicated internet users in Tanzania, TCRA Director General Jabir Bakari cited the parallel growth of blogs, websites and social media engagements in Kiswahili as a major contributing factor.
© Copyright 2022 Nation Media Group. All Rights Reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).