Google announced today that Project Link, an initiative to help connect more people to fast and affordable broadband Internet, is launching a Wi-Fi hotzone network to improve the quality and affordability of wireless access, a key need to meet the bandwidth demands of the Kampala’s growing number of mobile phone users.
Project Link first started by building a super-fast fiber network in Kampala that could be used by any mobile operator or Internet service provider to help them improve the quality of access and launch new services, such as 4G. By bringing abundant capacity to the city, which is used today by a dozen local providers, Project Link’s fiber network is providing a foundation for better connectivity in Uganda’s capital.
As with the Project Link fiber network, the Wi-Fi hotzone network will equip mobile network operators (MNOs) and Internet service provider (ISPs) with infrastructure they need to deliver improved services to end users. We offer these local providers access to wireless infrastructure—Wi-Fi access points and supporting equipment—so they can deliver Wi-Fi services without having to make duplicate investments in costly infrastructure.
With the help of Project Link’s new Wi-Fi hotzone network, Internet providers in Kampala will have access to shared infrastructure that can help them enhance their Wi-Fi services and meet the bandwidth needs of Uganda’s largest city,” said Ela Beres, Project Lead on the Wi-Fi effort. “Local providers can use this new network to bring Wi-Fi to people on-the-go in the city’s busiest locations such as Seroma Shoppers Stop Plaza, Nakivubo Taxi Park, and Jumbo Plaza”
The Wi-Fi network is available today at 120 sites in the busiest parts of the city, with plans to expand to more in the coming year. The service is launching today with Roke Telkom, the first provider to offer Wi-Fi using Link’s hotzones. People can log into a Rokespot and access more ubiquitous, affordable access for their mobile device.
“Lately Uganda has experienced phenomenal growth in demand for Internet, fuelled by the advent of lower-cost smartphones,” said Roger Sekaziga, Chief Executive Officer of Roke Telkom. “Project Link’s Wi-Fi network allows us to deliver cheaper and more reliable Wi-Fi service to a quickly-growing, often underserved market segment.”
To help keep up with the demand for wireless bandwidth, we’re working with additional Internet providers to launch similar Wi-Fi offerings. Additionally, to ensure that Wi-Fi services are accessible and affordable, we’re also working with building owners, small and large, to host the Wi-Fi radios. These owners can expect increased foot traffic, attracted by Wi-Fi services, as well as an opportunity to work with service providers and Project Link to get special terms on the Link fiber product. Across both the Wi-Fi hotzone and fiber network, the goal for these services is to make full, affordable, high-quality broadband access—including wireless access—more available in Uganda’s largest city.