An initiative to broaden the reach of internet access to the public and therefore inspire innovation has led Uganda’s government to promise delivery of free Wi-Fi services in the capital Kampala.
It is a laudable plan, especially considering the cries and debates that stemmed from South Africa last week about how data was too expensive, which struck up a discussion in other African countries.
Uganda’s minister of information and communication, Frank Tumwebaze, said that the government would provide this free wi-fi services between 6 pm and 6 am on weekdays, and from 3 pm to 6 am on weekends.
He gave a speech on Friday (Sept. 30) to that effect where he stated;
“Internet access is no longer a luxury but a necessity for all Ugandan citizens, … The ICT sector must remain at the center of this country-wide transformation steering Uganda to world class efficiency and productivity.”
The government’s public communications office also came out in a boast that it might be the first of its kind initiative in the region and they just might be right.
Uganda’s free wi-fi services were meant to undergo the first test on Saturday but we still await reports on how it went. It was also meant to be accessible to all those attending the Kampala City Festival on Sunday (Oct. 2).
Uganda’s free wi-fi services will only be available for ‘good websites’
Alongside the announcement of the free wi-fi services, the minister of information and communication also cautioned that there would be restrictions on downloading videos and access to ‘bad sites’.
It is an expected move considering that back in August the government spent $88,000 on a supposed pornography-detection machine bought from a South Korean company in an effort to clamp down on pornography.
Tumwebaze also said that the Wi-Fi pilot project was enabled because of the government’s investment in the National Backbone Infrastructure, which aims to connect all major towns and government departments to the internet and gave some other laudable data on internet costs in Uganda when he said that; “internet costs have reduced from $1200 to $300 per megabit per second per month in 2010 and 2016 respectively.”