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Kenya County, Liquid Telecom partner to offer free Internet

Kenya County, Liquid Telecom partner to offer free Internet

Kwale County government and Liquid Telecom in Kenya have partnered to offer free street Wi-Fi and an online service delivery portal.

As reported by techtrendske, residents of Kwale County will be able to access free Wi-Fi from Liquid telecom as well as have access to an online portal, 'KwalePay' that enables residents in the areas of Baraza Park and Ukunda to pay for government services.

This means residents will now be able to get business licenses pay land rent and access council services straight from the portal by using their mobile phones, home computers and cybercafés.

The Wi-Fi is serviced through a recent 25Mbps fibre network connection by Liquid Telecom which connected the county government headquarters and regional offices.

"The county's Revenue Management System will enable residents do all payments online, cutting long queues at the headquarters, and enhancing revenue collection and transparency," says Juma Kingi, county ICT director.

"In this, ICT is removing the human interface from revenue collection. We have developed a payment solution and integrated an SMS platform that will send reminders to residents to pay their renewals fees before their due dates, in a system we believe will now double our revenue collection," he adds.

According to techtrendske, the installations now see Kwale join 39 counties across Kenya that have rolled out digitalised systems offering their services online, but the county is among the first few – notably including Nakuru and Kiambu – to additionally develop free street Wi-Fi.

"Our aim is to make county services accessible on mobile phones and in grassroots cybercafés, saving the residents time and money spent travelling to our headquarters. This will cut out long journeys, for instance, from Lunga Lunga to headquarters saving residents about Sh440 on transport alone," says Kwale County Government Chief of Staff, Anthony Mwamunga.

The new network has also meant county staff is now able to use staff emails, where previously they had only personal Gmail or Yahoo accounts. "The county is also working on installing a call extension service across its offices to cut down its mobile phone calls costs," said Kingi.

According to techtrendske, the development of high-speed Internet in Kwale has additionally opened up the county to new business opportunities and enabled residents to access services previously only available in Kenya's major cities and towns.

"We genuinely believe in the role that Internet connectivity plays in developing the economic prospects of a region through job creation and greater ease of doing business. This has been seen all around the world. But taking these services into some of Kenya's most unequal counties is a mission of which we are very proud, and one that we shall continue to pursue with vigour," says Adil Youssefi, CEO of Liquid Telecom Kenya.

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