The government commissioned the first free Internet hotspot in Nairobi in line with President William Ruto’s plan to supply free internet across the country.
ICT Cabinet Secretary Eluid Owalo on Wednesday, November 9 launched the hotspot at the City Market as part of plans for Nairobi residents to access free internet in select places.
Additionally, he expressed plans to unveil 25,000 public WiFi hotspots across the country to meet the rising demand for internet as the world embraces the fast-evolving digital universe.
Owalo added that the government is already mapping out the areas across the country as it seeks to connect the youth to internet opportunities.
“The government believes in the creation of a digital superhighway as a way of empowering the skills of the young people in this country. We will also identify skills gaps and offer training to ensure youths make use of the internet to earn a living,” Owalo said.
The CS urged traders to capitalize on the initiative and market their goods and services and warned that those using the service to access explicit content like adult sites will be barred.
The hotspots that will be put up will be located near marketplaces to help businesses reap big in terms of benefits by using it to market their businesses online.
The free internet initiative will extend to Muthurwa market and thereafter across all 17 constituencies in Nairobi before expanding to other parts of the country. So far, eight public WiFi hotspots have been laid out in Nairobi in its piloting phase.
ICT Authority CEO Stanly Kamanguya noted that the public WiFi will have security features to ensure that it is protected from security breaches that stem from lack of encryptions carried out on the WiFi.
He however did not explain any security measures that have been put in place to protect the privacy and data of individuals who will be using the internet, nor the specific websites blocked. The public WiFi does not require a password for access.
With the initiative, traders at City Market can make orders for their supplies online, market their services and products as well as receive orders from customers.
The government is also planning to digitalize most processes linked to service delivery, Owalo added, and will be able to do away with the paper works in government ministries soon.
The matter of free internet has been heavy on President Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza manifesto as he promised to deliver a ‘digital superhighway’ to boost internet connectivity.
“ICT is a big part of how we intend to deliver our development agenda. We are in talks with telecommunication companies to lay a 100,000-kilometre fibre optic that will reach every corner of Kenya,” Ruto stated while meeting former Britain Prime Minister Tony Blair on Friday, November 4 at State House.