Kampala – Regulator, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has allocated funds for the provision of 1,444 solar tablet computers for village households deemed underserved by communication technologies across the country.
The funds which have been earmarked under the Rural Communications Development Fund (RCDF), will cause the purchase and distribution of tablets with an inbuilt solar energy charging system, under the Open Domestic Bidding procedure in the Uganda Government’s Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act, 2003.
Eng. Irene Ssewankambo, the Executive Director of UCC, has told this website this evening January 28, 2021, that commission is responding to the urgent need to connect the unconnected in underserved communities through ownership of devices.
“We are therefore doing a pilot in providing solar powered devices to persons in some of the poorest areas of Uganda as per UBOS statistics to bring the benefits of ICTs to them,” she said.
She added that the UCC intends to provide participants with basic digital skilling and introduce them to applications that have been developed in various vocations such as education, agriculture, and introduce them to the different e-government services.
“This initiative is complementary to other initiatives such as the ICT for farmers initiative where UCC is skilling the farmers and creating centralized access to various products across the farming value chain,” reveals Eng. Ssewankambo.
She said the communications agency is targeting to give a device per household with an aim of facilitating every member of the family – father, mother, and children.
The pilot will include use of the free WiFi installed at border posts and subsidized access to the public networks which will be achieved with positive support from various operators who are partnering in helping to connect the unconnected and make the Internet locally relevant to all.
Asked how the selected households were reached, Eng. Ssewankambo said the UCC used UBOS poverty level statistics to select the target areas mapped with the location of complementary projects it is running in rural areas. From these areas, UCC will work with the local leadership to select participants.
“The process is ongoing. We selected areas from all the four administrative regions of the country and we have specifications we have set of what we seek to obtain,” she said.