The government of Kenya, through the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT), intends to support internet services at constituency level by availing free Wi-Fi. Yes, you heard that right. The Government will begin to offer free Wi-Fi to the 290 constituencies in the country. To see the fulfilment of this ambition the Ministry of ICT has signed a service contract with the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Committee.
The Ministry of ICT is mandated with the development and management of Information and Communications Technologies in the country.
To begin with the Ministry of ICT looks forward to supporting only one site per the 290 constituencies. But you can still get more sites in you constituency. You ask how? The Ministry has gone ahead to point out that a member of parliament (MP) can lobby for support for up to four sites in their constituency.
The free internet initiative is part of the government manifesto to enhance internet and information access around the country in an effort to establish a digital economy.
Terms of the Service Contract
The following are the terms of the service contract;
- To begin with, all the 290 constituencies will take up costs of all ICT service readiness activities at the respective installation sites. This means that it is the respective constituency that will meet the cost of the equipment installed in the innovation hubs.
The Ministry has broken this cost into two segment;
- The Internet Access Equipment
This constitutes Satelites, WiFi mounts, lighting arrestors, antennas, routers and solar kits. The solar kits are a backup plan incase of absence of grid power.
- The Digital Classroom Kit
This comprises of 40 tablets.
The constituencies will meet this installation cost by dipping into the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
- On the other hand, the Ministry of ICT will take up the cost of the monthly recurring charges for the services that will be provided by the equipment installed to the 290 constituencies in the country. The government has committed to cater for internet charges that Innovation Hubs within constituencies incur on a monthly basis.
According to the Ministry of ICT the constituency innovation hubs are geared to augment youth empowerment, economic growth, innovation and creativity, access to online opportunities and research. People in marginal areas will now be able to apply for jobs, scholarships as well as access government services and opportunities which were previously inaccessible to them.
The wi-fi equipped innovation hubs will upgrade the digital literacy levels of constituencies hence complement the governments Digital Literacy Program [DLP] which aims to instill digital skills among young kids by availing tablets to primary schools around the country.