The Tanzania Education and Research Network (TERNET) appointed their new CEO, Dr. Frank P. Seth on 14th September 2022. UbuntuNet Alliance caught up with him for a short interview on behalf of the Research and Education community of Eastern and Southern Africa.
1. Tell us a little about yourself, in terms of work experience and academic qualifications.
Dr Frank Philip Seth holds a Doctor of Science in Software Engineering from the Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT), Finland (2015), and has a work experience in the ICT industry for over 18yrs.
It was a humble beginning as a junior Curriculum Developer for ICT at the Tanzania Institute of Education (TIE) in 2005 where he started his new carrier path as he deviated from being a Science teacher in a High School. In a few months as a Curriculum Developer, Dr Seth was appointed to take the role of the Systems Analyst and Head of the ICT unit.
One year later in 2006, Dr Seth become an ICT Manager at the Dar es Salaam University College of Education, the constituent College of the University of Dar es Salaam. In this position, he grew from Senior Computer Programmer/Systems Analyst – II to Principal Senior Computer Programmer/Systems Analyst – I; and climbed the academic ladder to Doctorate.
Before the appointment for the position of Executive Secretary and CEO for TERNET on 14th September 2022, Dr Seth was involved in many projects throughout Tanzania. To say the least, DR Seth was a member of the core team that established TERNET in 2008.
2. What are some of the key challenges that you have found and what are your priorities to get moving as the new CEO of TERNET?
In my first two months in the office, I faced mountains of challenges, and by the grace of God, I see a few mountains moving bit by bit. Financial drought was one of the big issues because I nearly failed to pay my staff their monthly salary. In one month’s time, this mountain has significantly diminished as we managed to sell over 1,000 Mbps of the Internet and increase our customer base from 20 to nearly 30 (still waiting for a few more contract signatures).
To list a few challenges:
- Stiff competition with other Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
- Third-party Network Infrastructure cost
- Lack of enough networking equipment
- Huge Taxes, etc.
3. What is your vision for TERNET? Where do you want to take the NREN in the next coming few years?
I am working toward the stated mission of TERNET which is:
- To provide affordable and reliable broadband connectivity to member institutions and be the preferred network for HERIs.
- To enable education and research institutions to exploit their full potential using ICTs through collective bargaining and sharing of resources.
UbuntuNet Alliance congratulates Dr. Frank P. Seth on his appointment and wishes him the best in his new role.