Roke Telkom, USAID Partner to Expand Internet to Rural Areas

Daniele Nyirandutiye, (C), USAID/Uganda Mission Director, Roger Sekaziga, (2nd L), CEO Roke Telkom, Eng. Mujuni B Arnold, (2nd R), Ag. Head Uganda Communications Universal Service and Access Fund (UCUSAF), Uganda Communications Commission pose for a phot with other Roke Telkom staff member during the official launch of a new telecommunications site in Yumbe, Uganda. Daniele Nyirandutiye, (C), USAID/Uganda Mission Director, Roger Sekaziga, (2nd L), CEO Roke Telkom, Eng. Mujuni B Arnold, (2nd R), Ag. Head Uganda Communications Universal Service and Access Fund (UCUSAF), Uganda Communications Commission pose for a phot with other Roke Telkom staff member during the official launch of a new telecommunications site in Yumbe, Uganda.
<center>Daniele Nyirandutiye, (C), USAID/Uganda Mission Director, Roger Sekaziga, (2nd L), CEO Roke Telkom, Eng. Mujuni B Arnold, (2nd R), Ag. Head Uganda Communications Universal Service and Access Fund (UCUSAF), Uganda Communications Commission pose for a phot with other Roke Telkom staff member during the official launch of a new telecommunications site in Yumbe, Uganda.</center>

The U.S. government through USAID joined Roke Telkom today and officially launched a new telecommunications site in Yumbe, Uganda. The new fixed wireless infrastructure by Roke Telkom is part of a larger partnership with USAID’s Digital Invest program.

With USAID’s support, Roke Telkom is expanding fixed broadband infrastructure at 12 sites in underserved districts across Uganda. The partnership aims to support Uganda’s digital ecosystem by decreasing the costs of co-location and wholesale services for ISPs nationwide, leading to more affordable internet services for individuals and businesses.

As a result of the new infrastructure, Roke Telkom will also expand its RokeSpot solution, which provides low-cost Wi-Fi service via hotspots in Uganda. It will also further expand its partnership with Hello World to provide connectivity to the nonprofit’s digital hubs, which offer access to devices, training, and community support in marginalized areas.

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“At Roke, our concern has always been the high costs of deploying the internet, which has consigned those that need it most, to a much slower digital lane,” said Roger Sekaziga, CEO and Co-founder of Roke Telkom. “With this USAID partnership, we believe that we can empower communities by transitioning them from being completely off-grid to having the internet through fixed wireless; and, in so doing, help bridge the digital divide.”

At the launch event, USAID Uganda Mission Director, Daniele Nyirandutiye said they are taking a big step toward a future where all Ugandans can participate in the digital economy and access life-changing tools and opportunities. “The U.S. government’s partnership with Roke Telkom is proof of what we can accomplish when the public and private sectors are intentional about learning from each other, combining resources, and building a shared vision to empower our communities.”

Daniele Nyirandutiye, (C), USAID/Uganda Mission Director, Roger Sekaziga, (L), CEO Roke Telkom, Eng. Mujuni B Arnold, (R), Ag. Head of UCUSAF at Uganda Communications Commission cutting a ribbion to open a new telecommunications site in Yumbe, Uganda.
Daniele Nyirandutiye, (C), USAID/Uganda Mission Director, Roger Sekaziga, (L), CEO Roke Telkom, Eng. Mujuni B Arnold, (R), Ag. Head of UCUSAF at Uganda Communications Commission cutting a ribbon to open a new telecommunications site in Yumbe, Uganda.

USAID’s Digital Invest program partners with impact-focused investment fund managers, internet infrastructure developers, and other private sector companies to advance internet connectivity and digital services for under-connected communities in emerging markets through a blended finance approach.

Since President Biden launched Digital Invest as a flagship program of the G7-led Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGI) in 2022, it has provided USD$8.45 million (approx. UGX31.3 billion) in U.S. government funding to 13 partners who have raised over USD$300 million (approx. UGX1.12 trillion) in investment capital.

USAID’s Digital Invest and its partners have supported 68 technology companies operating in 40 countries. The program is part of the Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership (DCCP), a U.S. government interagency initiative led by the U.S. Department of State to promote an open, interoperable, reliable, and secure Internet and stable cyberspace.

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