Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) through the Rural Communications Development Fund (RCDF) recently launched a Wi-Fi hotspot project covering five border posts across the country. The project is to be implemented by Blue Crane Communications Limited, an Internet Service Provider.
The newly launched project may end the data issues Ugandans have been facing lately after the pandemic forced many to shut down businesses and work leaving them broke and offline for several months.
Blue Crane Communications Limited is expected to provide broadband services at the five border posts of Mutukula (Kyotera); Vurra (Arua); Malaba (Tororo); Elegu (Amuru); Bunagana (Kisoro). Kampala isn’t included in the plan yet.
The project, which is expected to provide connectivity in transit areas and also help support businesses while fighting against COVID-19 was announced at the UCC head office on Wednesday.
Mr George Waigumbulizi, a Director at Blue Crane, said his company would deliver a bandwidth capacity of 5Mbps per user at the selected sites, which honestly will be considered a miracle come true for the residents within the regions of coverage.
The project could be what the Ugandans have been waiting for to end their data woes and prolonged periods offline, unable to enjoy the internet like others in different parts of the country.
The project is in line with the RCDF Phase III Guidelines that prioritise broadband connectivity and access. It will also enable the public in the beneficiary areas to access free and reliable internet connectivity once it goes online.
The UCC Wi-Fi project is expected to provide broadband services at the five border posts of the country
The National Broadband Policy has also played a crucial role in making the project happen as it seeks to promote broadband coverage across the country. The policy defines broadband for Uganda as robust connectivity that is affordable, reliable and delivers a minimum of 5Mbps to the user for applications, content and services.
Regions that have been targetted in this project have been recognised by UCC and RCDF as transit areas which have unique communication needs that can be addressed through access to public Wi-Fi hotspots as long as they own a Wi-Fi capable device.
Wi-Fi in such locations is even more suitable and convenient because it doesn’t require a SIM card or existence of a subscription relationship with a service provider. Through this project, the Commission will also be able to contribute to the fight against COVID-19 by addressing the communication needs of people transiting through the said border posts, some of which have been identified by the Ministry of Health as hotspots in the fight against the pandemic.
By providing free broadband service, it is believed that the experience will spur market demand among the local user population, and eventually drive uptake of broadband services in these areas. The project also aims to increase the number of ICT devices such as computers and smartphones in the area, as well as encourage digital literacy, thereby reducing the digital divide.
Besides improved social services, the selected areas are expected to experience the ease of doing business through e-commerce and e-government services, thus contributing to social-economic transformation.
Author: Allan Bangirana
Allan Bangirana is a freelance writer for Newslibre & Spur Magazine. He is passionate about tech, games and occasionally writes about entertainment, lifestyle and so much more.