Google’s free public Wi-Fi to make internet more accessible

KAMPALA. Internet users will no longer be bothered by high costs of accessing internet, thanks to Google’s campaign of introducing free public wi-fi network in Kampala.

The company’s push for faster, more reliable internet access in Uganda gathered pace after it launched its first wi-fi network in Kampala.

Last week, Google officials revealed that they were providing wireless network available at various spots in Kampala. In turn, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are expected to use this network to provide much faster and better quality internet to customers.

Ms Ela Beres, the project lead on the Wi-Fi effort, told technology enthusiasts and ISP’s last week that at least 120 locations in Kampala were linked to their network.

“We have picked some of the busiest locations around the city such as Jumbo Plaza, Nakivubo Taxi Park, and Acacia Mall. Our aim is for more people to access the internet in Kampala and by picking these spots, that is the very first step,” Ms Beres told the Daily Monitor on the sidelines of the launch.

“Google’s internet infrastructure will be more affordable and accessible to all Ugandans. The new Wi-Fi project allows us to concentrate on our core business. It will also decrease our costs of providing the service and the consumer will be the beneficiary of these reduced costs,” said Mr Roger Sekaziga, the chief executive officer of Roke Telkom. The cost of providing the internet, however, is not for Google to determine but the service providers.

At the moment, Google has in excess of 10 ISPs using their network in Kampala. Smile, Airtel and Roke Telecom are some of them. Uganda Communications Commission, estimates internet users in Uganda at 13 million as at 201415.

ICT minister John Nasasira said there was still potential for further wi-fi penetration in Uganda because costs are dropping.

Project link

In 2013, Kampala became the first city in Africa where Google launched its “Project Link.” This was after months of laying 800 kilometres of fiber optic cables all around the city and Entebbe. The aim for Google was to provide the infrastructure that could be shared by various internet service providers. This is instead of ISPs going out of their way to building the infrastructure, which would work only to increase costs.


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