Un­veil­ing of In­ter­net hotspots on­go­ing – PS

A ten­der has al­ready been awarded to Telkom Kenya and Avante In­ter­na­tional Tech­nol­ogy to in­stall free WiFi in 290 con­stituen­cies

The Star (Kenya) - - News Business - RICHARD MUN­GAI @Richiy­mungai

The Min­istry of In­for­ma­tion plans to com­plete the roll­out of free In­ter­net at spe­cial cen­tres coun­try­wide to en­hance ac­cess to gov­ern­ment’s on­line services by De­cem­ber, Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary for broad­cast­ing and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Sammy Item­ize has said.

The PS said a ten­der has al­ready been awarded to Telkom Kenya and US maker of tech­nol­ogy sys­tems Avante In­ter­na­tional Tech­nol­ogy to in­stall free Wi-Fi hotspots in all 290 con­stituen­cies.

“We have al­ready awarded the ten­der and we are now at the stage of rolling out,” he said yes­ter­day in an in­ter­view on the side­lines of the World Posta Day cel­e­bra­tions in Nairobi.

He said the project will largely be funded through the con­stituency de­vel­op­ment fund.

“The na­tional gov­ern­ment has pro­vided about Sh300 mil­lion which will go to the de­vel­op­ment of in­fra­struc­ture,” he said, adding “the Wi-Fi will ride on the na­tional op­tic fi­bre back­bone that links the 47 coun­ties”.

Wi-Fi tech­nol­ogy al­lows elec­tronic de­vices to con­nect to wire­less net­works us­ing low ra­dio fre­quency bands.

The PS said the project will be car­ried out in li­ai­son with the mem­bers of the Na­tional As­sem­bly, and that each con­stituency will be sup­ported with four Wi-Fi cen­tres in the ini­tial stage.

“The roll­out is largely aimed at en­hanc­ing ac­cess to gov­ern­ment services, most of which are now of­fered through the e-cit­i­zen por­tal. Free In­ter­net will also en­able the youth to cre­ate jobs by them­selves.”

The project, if suc­cess­ful, will place Kenya at the top in terms of con­nec­tiv­ity in Africa, where In­ter­net ac­cess is lim­ited.

It will be the sec­ond at­tempt to cre­ate free coun­try­wide broad­band ac­cess fol­low­ing the launch of satel­lite in­ter­net beam­ing tech­nol­ogy by the so­cial media gi­ant Face­book.

Face­book has been pro­vid­ing In­ter­net from space to large parts of Sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa us­ing a mo­bile app called Free Ba­sics since May 2016.

Lo­cally, hotspots will be set up at high points mainly build­ings and the in­stal­la­tion will in­volve a satel­lite dish, smart de­vices, among other ac­ces­sories. The cov­er­age for the hotspot is ap­prox­i­mately 50 me­ters wide.

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In­for­ma­tion PS Sammy Ite­mere dur­ing the launch of the Google’s Digify Africa pro­gramme at Sarova Stan­ley on April 12

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