Google’s Project Loon is set to venture into the Ugandan market with interest in the rural region. The project is to expand the internet connectivity reach. Rural areas of the East African region miss out on such infrastructures as telecoms deem the operations cost as quite expensive to put in place their services and have not invested in much to connect the villages. However, significant improvements are being undertaken to ensure they tap on the untapped market.
After launching a similar project in Kenya, the subsidiary working on providing Internet access to rural and remote areas is on the verge of rolling out a similitude project in Uganda. The balloon-borne Wi-Fi service will give the residents internet access to connect with the world and keep up to date with the current affairs.
The Government of Uganda and Loon LLC held talks over the project, but a deal is yet to be agreed, Scott Coriell, a Loon spokesman, confirmed. The company will collaborate with mobile network operators to affect the project. It will prove to be a great investment deal once finalised by the parties and offer opportunities for investors in the remote areas.
Uganda is following on the footsteps of Kenya which was the first engagement to Africa. The ‘Wi-Fi for the world’ product rolled out in 2017 in Kenya came in the wake of a partnership with Telkom. Since then, significant developments have taken place. Being the second station in Africa, it signifies the business opportunities for the American company in the African soil.
In 2017, a total of 88% of Kenya’s population had internet access through their mobile handsets. The country as well had faster internet speed than that of the United States of America. The growing demand for technology in the Kenyan market has stirred the digital migration. In 2019, Central Kenya will receive the balloon-powered internet.
Internet penetration in Uganda has risen since the ushering of the millennial year. From 40,000 internet users in 2000 to 750,000 in 2007, the landlocked country experienced a quantum leap the following year, to recording two million internet users in the country. In 2010, with a population of 33 million, internet users we 3.2 million users. Last year, the figures went up to 13 million internet users.
The mobile voice and data services have continued to form a significant part of the telecommunication industry in the metamorphosis of the sector, with modern technology coming into play. A recent review published in June 2017 reported that Uganda is among the first countries in the Sub-Saharan region to gain full internet connectivity.
There are four billion internet users around the globe who account for only 53 per cent of the total population, according to the Digital in 2018’ report with Africa possessing the lion’s share of the internet penetration.