Telecommunications regulator, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) will next year launch local social media platforms in a bid to lower internet costs, the executive director Eng. Godfrey Mutabazi has said.
"That is one of the projects we are working on next year. There is an investor who is bringing our own social media platforms. Instead of Twitter, you're going to have something local that you're going to use," Mutabazi told URN.
He says that hosting of content outside Uganda is the reason for the prohibitive internet costs.
“The moment you access the internet, you first go to America and come back when you are surfing. But if we had our own content here, it will be cheaper," Mutabazi argues.
Mutabazi says government and telecommunication industry players will be encouraged to use and promote local social media platforms. In a country with approximately 40 million people, Mutabazi says, it's possible to have 10 million people subscribing to local social media platforms. He likened the market competition to music competition.
Whereas music by western musicians has dominated, Mutabazi argues that local musicians have also flourished, a signal that local social media platforms that UCC is planning to introduce can flourish alongside Facebook and Twitter.
Mutabazi says the commission has been and continues to encourage smartphone manufacturers to bring good but relatively cheap products in order to increase internet consumption in the country.
"In a few years, the internet price will go down because we are going to encourage the importation of smartphones so that majority of people can use smartphones. One of the reasons why the internet is expensive is because capacity picked by telecommunication from Mombasa is used by few people," he says.