Kenya: Liquid Telecom connects Nakuru County to Wi-Fi

Seacom CEO
(Image Credit: Darryl Linington).

AfricaCom 2014
As a company Liquid Telecom is focused on building Africa’s digital future.(Image Credit: Darryl Linington).

Liquid Telecom Kenya has partnered with the Nakuru County Government to launch free Wi-Fi in Nakuru. According to Liquid Telecom, this will see the residents of Nakuru County gain access to a public street Wi-Fi connection.

Internet access has been widely tipped to be the key differentiator in Kenya’s economic performance, creating at least 1,000 jobs a month in the business process outsourcing sector since 2013, according to the ICT Authority of Kenya. Recent efforts, driven by public-private partnerships, are expected to raise the country’s Internet access further, from the current 52.3 per cent, as reported by the Communications Authority of Kenya.

The public-private partnership between the Nakuru County Government and Liquid Telecom Kenya has seen the design and launch of a high capacity Wi-Fi network that covers a 10-kilometre radius from the central business district (CBD) with a capacity of 1 Gigabyte per second (Gbps). Currently, this network is connected to a 200 Megabytes per second (Mbps) pool that is upgradable to 1Gbps based on demand, which Liquid Telecom will be monitoring and upgrading as the need arises.

“Liquid Telecom has put in place outdoor Wi-Fi nodes, which are designed to carry huge capacities with the ability to withstand harsh climatic conditions to guarantee maximum and uninterrupted speeds while surfing. With the built-in meshing technology incorporated in the network systems, users in Nakuru will not experience service interruptions when moving from one point to another within the areas covered in the town,” said Ben Roberts, Liquid Telecom Kenya CEO.

With 51 nodes installed, the network will serve users in the streets and open public areas such as stadia and parks. The first phase of the free Wi-Fi project covers the county’s Kenyatta Street, Marikiti Market, the main bus terminus at the CBD, Afraha Stadium, the county headquarters and the Westside Mall, with the second phase expected to cover more streets using street poles and other public infrastructure.

Academic institutions in Nakuru will also receive access, among them JKUAT Nakuru Campus and Mount Kenya University. This is expected to increase the use of e-learning, which increases information retention among students by up to 60 per cent, according to the Research Institute of America.

“With the uptake of e-learning by various colleges and universities in Kenya and the wealth of knowledge available online, Internet access in academic institutions has fast become a defining factor in the quality of education that students receive,” said Ben Roberts.

Also expected to be connected to the free Wi-Fi are Naivasha and Gilgil towns, as well as Egerton University in Njoro, which will be connected later in 2015.

According to Liquid Telecom Kenya, it has invested $400,000 in the project, with more set to be invested during network optimization exercises across 2015.

Staff Writer