The Government of Kenya through the Ministry of ICT will rollout free internet in the 290 constituencies in Kenya, a move that will see locals enjoy free Wi-Fi.
The free Wi-Fi project under Constituency Innovation Hubs will be implemented by Members of Parliament in partnership with Telkom Kenya, since MPs are the main custodians of youth development issues at the constituency level. Each ward will receive four equipment under the Last Mile Internet project.
The advantage of this kind of free Wi-Fi is that it can be accessed via satellite internet (Very Small Aperture Terminal). The locally designed gadgets will also be available at the centres for leasing to the youth at nominal fee, whose proceeds will be used to sustain the centres or hubs. The project, while empowering the youth, will see MPs champion digitization programme of the youth in their constituencies.
This is part of Jubilee’s Manifesto under Uwezo pillar to enhance access to the internet as well as increase access to information in the digital economy. The project is meant to realize the Government’s agenda for broadband strategy as well as align it to the National ICT strategy.
It is expected that the Government’s agenda to offer broadband space will spur the economy and create digital talent, following suite after Australia increased their overall broadband speeds. It is envisaged that this will assist the rural population make online applications for jobs, scholarships and access other Government opportunities.
The free Wi-Fi will also broaden the knowledge based economy with the rural population accessing services and online opportunities that were hitherto inaccessible to them.
Under the partnership, the Ministry of ICT will be paying about Ksh200 million annually for the broadband services while the CDF will offer the infrastructure – as communication is a basic human right.
The National Fibre Optic Project (NFOP) centres will also boost entrepreneurship by attracting investors to access the centre for research. The project has been successfully piloted in Limuru.
The Government is also increasing the uptake of ICT through the rollout of the Digital Literacy Programme (DLP) which has seen schools get digital devices (commonly known as laptops).