Public-Private Partnerships in the telecommunications and ICT sector

The following is a selection of the many PPP examples in the telecommunications and ICT which exist internationally.

Canada – Alberta SuperNet
See Practice Note in Chapter 3, Section 3.4.4

e-Mitra (Rajasthan, India)
e-Mitra is an integrated e-governance project, undertaken by the Government of the state of Rajasthan (GoR) that aims at providing information on the government and its services through dedicated centres and kiosks. The e-Mitra project integrates two GoR projects launched in 2002 – LokMitra (in urban areas) and JanMitra (in rural areas) – to give citizens access to a multi-service single-window. The “front office” portion of the project operates on a public-private partnership (PPP) model. The “back office” is owned by the GoR but operated by a technology partner, which is also a form of PPP.

In 2008, 850 e-Mitra kiosks are operational in 32 districts around the State under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) framework. Over 600,000 customers are served at these centres every month and the average monthly collection as of October 2006 was Rs 714,000,000.

e-Mitra provides a one-stop facility for electricity, water and telephone bills, dues of the municipal corporation, Jaipur Development Authority and the Rajasthan Housing Board among others. The kiosks also serve as processing centres for applications for revaluation of marks for board exams, ration cards, birth and death certificates. It also works as a public grievance centre and a databank with easy access to government information and a counter for buying stamp papers, revenue tickets, rail tickets or deed writing. The services provided at the kiosks vary according to the needs and demands of a particular area.

The Eastern African Submarine Cable System (EASSy)
EASSy is a multi-country, multi-partner fiber-optic cable project that will connect 21 African countries to each other and the rest of the world. The partners will be a combination of publicly and privately owned entities. EASSy is set-up to operate as a non-profit making initiative and endeavours to bring about substantial bandwidth cost reductions to the countries where its members operate. The ownership structure of EASSy is a “hybrid consortium” of which one of the members is the West Indian Ocean Cable Company Limited (WIOCC). WIOCC is a specially created investment company owned by Djibouti Telecom (Djibouti), Dalkom (Somalia), Telkom Kenya (Kenya), Uganda Telecom (Uganda), Zanzibar Telecom (Tanzania), ONATEL (Burundi), U-COM (Burundi), Botswana Telecom (Botswana) and Telecommunicacðes de Mocambique - TDM (Mozambique), Lesotho Telecommunications Authority (Lesotho) and Gilat Satcom Limited Nigeria.

The full project funds of US$ 248 Million are in place and fully committed. The construction of the cable commenced in March 2008. EASSy will be ready for commercial service during first half 2010. Along with the WIOCC parties' equity contributions of US$ 20 Million, a syndicated loan of US$ 70.7 Million has been secured by WIOCC from the following international developmental financial institutions (DFIs), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Development Bank of France (AFD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), Germany's development bank (KfW) and International Finance Corporation (IFC). The balance of EASSy's US$248 Million project cost not covered by WIOCC's funding, is provided from direct capital investments from all its other parties. The other EASSy parties comprise of Mauritius Telecom, MTN Group, Comores Telecom, Sudan Telecom (Sudatel), Botswana Telecommunications Corporation, Tanzania Telecommunications (TTCL), Telecom Malagasy, Bharti Airtel India, Telkom South Africa and Zambia Telecommunications. The international telecommunications operators who are party to EASSy include British Telecom, Etisalat - UAE, France Telecom and Saudi Telecom (STC).

The EASSy cable system will improve access for over 250 million Africans. The EASSy cable will run 10,500 kilometers from the continent's southern tip to the African horn, connecting South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Comoros, Mayotte, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti, and Sudan. The EASSy cable will be extended to the Comoros Archipelago at Grand Comoro and Mayotte. A further 13 adjoining, land locked countries will also be linked to the system as terrestrial backbone networks are completed by the relevant participating parties in Botswana, Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Bangalore One (B1)
Another Indian project, B1 is a PPP between the State of Karnataka and private consortium of CMS Computers Ltd. and Ram Informatics. The objective is to provide a one-stop shop via public center kiosks for all Government to Business (G2B) and Government to Citizen (G2C) services in the state. The Government personnel responsible for providing services prior to B1 were redeployed into the service of B1. The private operator is paid a fixed fee for each transaction carried out. UTI Bank is also providing financing by paying the salary of 200 kiosk employees. The bank makes up the costs out of the one-day float it gets to hold on the cash collected.

It is estimated that Bangalore would eventually need about 50 citizen service centers to provide about 100 G2B, G2C and B2C services in Bangalore City. The government of Karnataka decided to establish 15 service centers initially in different parts of the city and provide 24 basic services of 8 government departments participating in the B1 Project. As of March 2008, there were 39 service centers operational. The project is also being expanded to the cities of Hubli-Dharwad, Mysore, Belgaum and Gulbarga.

Source: Scott Jazynka, Insititute for Public-Private Partnerships, February 26 2007.

Estonia Rural Connectivity
Estonia has one of the highest degrees of connectivity in Europe as a result of the focus placed on the development of a core network infrastructure and provision of access to the general population. Through a concession agreement with the Estonian Telephone Company, the company helped to ensure connectivity in rural and scarcely populated areas in return for lucrative urban contracts. The government is actively extending connectivity throughout the nation. By 2002 Estonia had approximately 300 public Internet access points providing free email and Internet access. These points also serve as e-government access points where citizens can conduct the majority of their transactions with the public administration.

Source: “Creating a Development Dynamic”, Accenture, Markle Foundation, United Nations Development Programme, 2001.

MSC Malaysia (formerly known as the Malaysia Multimedia Super Corridor)
In 1996 the Government of Malaysia announced its plans to develop the Multimedia Super Corridor (now called “MSC Malaysia”). Supporting the mega-project was the Government’s electronic governance policy, which sought to transform the relationship between the Government and its citizens according to new, indigenous (non-Western) models of development. As with its past infrastructure mega-projects, the Government of Malaysia relied heavily on partnerships with the private sector to develop and invest in the new MSC and to provide the infrastructure and operate the applications and services of the new e-Government program.

The Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) oversees the development of MSC Malaysia. Initially a Government-owned corporation but now incorporated, MDeC markets the MSC globally and facilitates applications by multinational and local companies to re-locate to MSC Malaysia.

MSC Malaysia encompasses an area 50 km long by 15 km wide. It stretches from the Kuala Lumpur City Center’s Petronas Towers in the north to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in the south and includes two new Greenfield cities: Putrajaya, the national government’s new administrative capital, and “Cyberjaya,” a new city created especially to attract private international multimedia, communications, technology, and knowledge-based firms. It was expanded to include the entire Klang Valley in December 2006. MSC Malaysia has grown into an ICT hub, hosting more than 900 multinationals, foreign-owned and home-grown Malaysian companies focused on multimedia and communications products, solutions, services and research and development.

The Malaysian government has equipped core areas in MSC Malaysia with high-capacity global telecommunications and logistics networks. MSC Malaysia is also supported by secure cyberlaws, strategic policies; and a range of financial and non-financial incentives for investors. Many innovative applications have been developed to accelerate MSC Malaysia’s growth. Applications are focused on the development of Smart Schools, Telehealth, e-Business, smart card technology, electronic government and techno-entrepreneurship. A recent initiative of MSC Malaysia is the Creative Multimedia cluster, which aims to catalyse the development of the Malaysian creative content industry, engaging the participation of global producers.

Implementation of MSC Malaysia is divided into three phases from 1996-2020. In Phase 1 (1996-2003), MSC Malaysia was created. In Phase 2 (2004-2010), a web of similar corridors will be established in Malaysia, a global framework of cyberlaws will be passed and at least four intelligent cities will be linked to other cities worldwide. In Phase 3 (2010-2020), Malaysia will evolve into one Multimedia Super Corridor. An International Cybercourt of Justice will be established in MSC Malaysia and 12 intelligent cities will be linked to the global information highway.

Egypt Smart Village
Smart Village is a technology park that was designed to remove obstacles to ICT firms investing in Egypt’s ICT sector. Within two years of its inauguration in 2005, the Smart Village hosts a growing number of IT companies including multinationals, local and regional enterprises, start-ups, training centres, the ITU Arab regional office, and the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MCIT). The project is a PPP between the MCIT and a private consortium. Under the partnership, the MCIT provided 300 acres of land (20% of the cost) and the private investors financed the remaining 80%.

Smart Village Cairo is the first fully operational Technology and Business Park in Egypt, and accommodates multinational and local telecommunications and information technology companies, financial institutions and with governmental offices on three million square meters in the west of Cairo. The village offers a mix of business services, as well as a fiber optic network and a multi-source power supply. Currently, 12,000 professionals work in the village for over 100 companies. Total occupancy is expected to reach 80,000 by the end of 2014. Two new locations, Smart Village Damietta and Smart Village Alexandria, are being established.

Egypt Free Internet
Egypt's Free Internet Project is an initiative by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in Egypt, to provide everyone nationwide with easy and affordable access to the Internet at the cost of a local call and with no additional subscription fees. Today, Internet users all across Egypt are only charged for the price of local phone calls associated with connecting to the Internet. The Free Internet Initiative is based on an offloading/revenue sharing model: ISPs are allowed to co-locate their access equipment at Telecom Egypt local exchanges. Thus customers' Internet calls are serviced at the closest local exchange and re-routed to the ISP data backbone, resulting in major offloading of Telecom Egypt PSTN network. In return for offloading, revenues from the Free Internet calls are shared between Telecom Egypt and the service providers.

The Free Internet Initiative represents a success story of public-private-partnership, which has resulted in higher quality and reduced prices of Internet dial-up services in Egypt, to the best interest of the Egyptian citizen. Increasing the number of online users, their usage patterns and boosting the infrastructure as a whole are building the base for future e-Government projects in Egypt.

Source: “Compendium of Innovative E-government Practices Volume II”, Economic and Social Affairs (UN).

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