In 2013, Google initiated Project Link with a goal of connecting more people to high quality internet. We saw a lot of cables being laid around the country and wondered when affordable high speed internet would become a reality in Uganda. At the time, the deal between the government and Huawei for the national fiber optic internet backbone infrastructure had gone sour.
Like a messiah, Project Link’s major goal in Uganda was to build a super-fast, high-capacity fiber network to enable any local mobile operator or Internet service provider (ISP) to connect more people in Kampala to a faster, more reliable Internet. This dream seems to have finally come true.
Project Link is building on this foundation by 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.
In launching Project Link in Kampala today, Google has partnered with Roke Telecom as the first provider to offer Wi-Fi using Project Link hotzones allowing people to log in and access fast internet for their mobile devices.
Google believes that their 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 without having to make duplicate investments in costly infrastructure. May be Airtel Uganda, UTL and other ISPs still offering 2G and 3G can now ride on this infrastructure to offer better and reliable speeds.
Google is has no intentions of becoming an ISP so they will not be dealing directly with consumers. Roke Telkom and any future partners will determine the specific speeds and costs of the service for end users.
The new infrastructure allows local providers can also use Project Link’s Wi-Fi hotzone network to offer wireless service in homes, cafes, and small business with a small transceiving device. Project Link currently boasts of a network of 120 sites in the busiest parts of the city like Seroma, Shoppers Stop Plaza, Ben Kiwanuka street, and the Old Taxi Park with plans to expand in the coming year. To help keep up with the demand for wireless bandwidth, they are working with additional providers to launch similar Wi-Fi offerings.
We haven’t yet used the Wi-Fi but we shall be letting you know as soon as we do.
Image: Cipher 256