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Kampala trials free internet access for citizens

Free WiFi is being tested in Kampala (Source: Shutterstock Blablo101)

Internet access in Ugandas capital will soon become a necessity rather than a luxury following a move by government agencies to pilot free WiFi

The Ministry of Information Communication Technology and National Guidance and the National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U) commenced the complimentary scheme in Kampala central business district and parts of Entebbe, effective 1 October 2016.

Free WiFi services are available between 6:00pm and 6:00am on weekdays and between 3:00pm Saturday through to 6:00am Monday.

The service was first implemented at the Kampala Capital City Authority Street Carnival on Sunday 2 October, and will be officially launched at the end of October.

Announcing the news, minister of ICT and National Guidance Hon. Frank Tumwebaze praised NITA-U for achieving a milestone in helping to turn Uganda into a "digital society".

"The ICT sector must remain at the centre of this country-wide transformation, steering Uganda to world-class efficiency and productivity."

He said the new service has been supported by investment in the National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI), phase three of which is almost complete.

The NBI connects 169 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as Local Governments (LGs) with 102 MDAs set for connection in 2016/17.

The MDAs and LGs connected to the NBI are using it to receive bandwidth, make financial transactions, and integrate with other MDA IT systems to improve service delivery for users.

"Over time, we have seen the benefits of rolling out the National Data Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) in terms of increased productivity, efficiency and reduced costs of internet bandwidth," Tumwebaze added.

"Internet costs have reduced from $1,200 to $300 per megabit per second per month in 2010 and 2016 respectively.

"We are now able to broaden the reach of internet access to all citiziens by effectively utilizing the capacity the country built by investing in the infrastructure (NBI).



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