Can free public WiFi access become an election issue? It should. Nairobi is one of the big city that has been slow in free WiFi. WiFi is a short-range wireless network. Its already offered is public places such as restaurants, shopping malls and hotels sometimes at a fee. The rise in adoption of smart phones has resulted in a spike in data usage, and the demand for fast and reliable broadband network has soared.
The ICT Authority for the last three years have connected all the counties with broadband. Most public schools are now connected to electricity, 22,000 of them, all around the country. The county representatives in Nairobi are planning to tusk the city authorities to make some key parts of Nairobi CBD WiFi accessible. WiFi is increasingly offered in places as divergent as malls, schools, taxis and buses.
A study by IBM-TechKnowledge has found that there are no public hotspots in the whole city of Nairobi, which is a sad reality, considering the fact that the governments push for more access to the internet. When you look at the giant mobile companies, who are making billions out of their business, its impossible to believe that they have not thought for a second the impact of creating hotspots for the public. Access to the internet has a 4% increase to the GDB, this should be taken seriously.
While the legislators brainstorm on how to make Nairobi a public hotspot, its our desire that this is a promise that will be kept, and that the public will be able to access at least 50MB of data per day. This will increase the internet usage especially in accessing government services online. Today, Kenyan government has gone online with portals like ecitizen, where you can access services like, renewing your drivers license, ID card, etc. and with making broadband available to its citizen, more people will use that to access some of this services.
As Kenya goes to polls in 2017, this should be an election issues, especially in under-served areas and cosmopolitans. Promises have been made, and we will follow it up to the new age.