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Government unveils plans for free Internet hotspots

The government plans to extend an additional 100,000 kilometer of fiber optic network across the country as part of Kenya Kwanza’s pledge to install internet hotspots for public use at no cost.

Information, Communication and The Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo, flanked by Broadcasting and Telecommunication Principal Secretary Esther Koimett and Director of Information Josephine Kinuthia during a meeting with Kenya News Agency staff at the Uchumi House offices. Photo by Bonface Malinda

Cabinet Sectary for Information, Communication and The Digital Economy Eliud Owalo said the Information Communication Technology Authority (ICTA) was working on modalities to lay out the additional connectivity to spur digital economic growth in remote locations.

He told staff at the Directorate of Information offices at Uchumi House during his maiden tour that the move was to facilitate efficiency in a wider vision to ensure that the infrastructure was deployed to public institutions as part of Kenya’s Digital Masterplan 2022-2032 programme.

The additional fiber coverage comes after the previous administration commissioned the laying of at least 100,000 Kms of fibre optic infrastructure across the country.

The connectivity under the Kenya’s Digital Masterplan 2022-2032 was to link at least 40,000 learning institutions, 20,000 government institutions, 13,000 health facilities to National Optic Fibre Backbone infrastructure (NOFBI).

Owalo who held a consultative meeting with editors and staff at the Kenya News Agency Newsroom also announced plans to modernize operation at the institution to facilitate speedy flow of information on government policies.

He promised to address the concerns of the staff to ensure that their potentials were fully exploited to enhance creativity and innovation towards expanding the revenue base at the directorate.

“We need at individual level to enhance creativity and innovation to enable KNA remain ahead and relevant in the ever changing world of digital technology,” Owalo said.

The CS emphasized the need to make the eleven rural magazines that are printed by the department of information paperless adding that with higher internet speed the public can easily access government information.

“With the changing times, there is need to move the publications from the traditional hard copy to paperless technology to minimize costs and ensure wider reach,” Owalo said.

The Cabinet Secretary who was accompanied by the Broadcasting and Telecommunication Principal Secretary Esther Koimett was received at the departmental headquarters by the Director of Information Josephine Kinuthia and the Director in-charge of Kenya News Agency Mr Joseph Kipkoech.

He said the government will hold talks with stakeholders to consider how to modernize Kenya News agency to be a vibrant tool to propagate government information to Kenyans.

By Ian Chepkuto and Naftal Omanga

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