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Global Internet Organization calls for Africans to claim their voice on the internet

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Pierre Dandjinou, ICANN VP of GSE in Africa, stresses a point during the media roundtable.

Pierre Dandjinou, ICANN VP of GSE in Africa, stresses a point during the media roundtable.

By Our Reporter

A media roundtable brought together leaders of regional and global Internet organizations to share perspectives on African representation in the Internet ecosystem, and participation in shaping the Internet’s future.

Led by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and attended by the Internet Society’s Uganda Chapter, and AfRegistrar, the media roundtable took place during the Africa Internet Summit (AIS) at the Kampala Sheraton Hotel.

ICANN has been actively seeking to help raise awareness and build capacities around the domain name system, and the Internet in general across Africa. As part of this, it has been supporting and holding several workshops in the region.

“Africa’s digital potential is rising, which makes it imperative for the continent to claim its voice in the global Internet governance and protect its interests” stressed Pierre Dandjinou, ICANN VP of GSE in Africa. “With this in mind, ICANN is committed to providing equal opportunities to inform the region’s different communities about the domain name industry, and working with them on how best to not only strengthen Africa’s online presence, but also improve their participation within ICANN. Uganda is no exception.”

ICANN helps people connect to each other online. This happens through its coordination of parts of the Domain Name System (DNS), which is at the very root of the Internet functions. It translates computer host names into IP addresses, as well as the Internet Protocol addressing system used to route Internet traffic. Thus, ICANN plays a specific, technical role, acting in the global public interest as the trusted steward of these unique identifier systems of the Internet. With every email, video chat, or online purchase, ICANN is touched in one way or another. Also, ICANN helps protect the resiliency and security of the DNS and of Internet at large.

“We need to have this dialogue about the Internet now, and not later; as Africa is not outside the realms of the Internet. Every policy made about the future of the Internet concerns us, too. So, we need to join the decision-makers, and not stay as bystanders” said Lillian Nalwoga, the President of ISOC Uganda Chapter.

The Internet penetration in Africa is around 37%, still lagging behind with respect to the global penetration rate which is at 57%.  Internet access is among the many other obstacles Africa has to overcome with respect to its integration into the global digital economy, including the domain name business.

“AfRegistrar will work closely with African Regulators, African Union and Private Sector to enable the emergency of a vibrant Internet Environment for the African Economy, with a good and active Internet Governance, in an active and harmonized Broadband Policy and Regulation for African countries” reiterated Mouhamet Diop, Chair of AfRegistrar.

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Featured

UCC launches free Wi-Fi hotspot project

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UCC Ag. Executive Director Irene Kaggwa Sewankambo.

By BigEyeUG Team
Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) through the Rural Communications Development Fund (RCDF) has launched a Wi-Fi hotspot project covering five border posts across the country.

The project, to be implemented by Blue Crane Communications Limited, an Internet Service Provider, will provide broadband services at the five border posts of Mutukula (Kyotera); Vurra (Arua); Malaba (Tororo); Elegu (Amuru); Bunagana (Kisoro).

Launching the project at the UCC head office on Wednesday, UCC Ag. Executive Director Irene Kaggwa Sewankambo, who was flanked by the Director RCDF Nyombi Thembo, said the project aims to provide connectivity in transit areas to facilitate business and support the fight against COVID-19.

Mr George Waigumbulizi, a Director at Blue Crane, said his company would deliver a bandwidth capacity of 5Mbps per user at the selected sites.

Being in line with the RCDF Phase III Guidelines that prioritise broadband connectivity and access, the Wi-Fi hotspot project will enable the public in the beneficiary areas to access free and reliable internet connectivity.

This intervention is also informed by the National Broadband Policy, which seeks to promote broadband coverage across the country. The policy defines broadband for Uganda as robust connectivity that is affordable, reliable and delivers a minimum of 5Mbps to the user for applications, content and services.

In targeting border towns, UCC/RCDF recognised that people in transit areas have unique communication needs that can be addressed through access to public Wi-Fi hotspots as long as they own a Wi-Fi capable device. Wi-Fi in such locations is even more suitable and convenient because it doesn’t require a SIM card or existence of a subscription relationship with a service provider.

Through this project, the Commission will also be able to contribute to the fight against COVID-19 by addressing the communication needs of people transiting through the said border posts, some of which have been identified by the Ministry of Health as hotspots in the fight against the pandemic.

By providing free broadband service, it is believed that the experience will spur market demand among the local user population, and eventually drive uptake of broadband services in these areas.

The project also aims to increase the number of ICT devices such as computers and smartphones in the area, as well as encourage digital literacy, thereby reducing the digital divide.

Besides improved social services, the selected areas are expected to experience the ease of doing business through e-commerce and e-government services, thus contributing to social-economic transformation.

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Tech and Gadgets

MTN at the forefront of Uganda’s Fourth Industrial Revolution

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Somdev Sen, The Chief Marketing Officer MTN Uganda

Somdev Sen, The Chief Marketing Officer MTN Uganda

By Our Reporter

The Fourth Industrial Revolution commonly referred to as 4IR or Industry 4.0 has been a buzz phrase for many across the world for quite some time. With over 20 years of telecom experience in Asia and Africa, Somdev Sen, the Chief Marketing Officer at MTN Uganda sheds more light on the concept.

Although it is a buzz phrase for many in the developed part of the world, for a country like Uganda, a lot of the 4IR concepts may seem to be too farfetched. However, it is a necessity that we all should work towards achieving.

With 4IR, humanity will be able to bridge the gap between the physical, the digital and the biological as concepts like the Internet of things, artificial intelligence, big data analytics, technologies like robotics, 3D printing, quantum computing will become a way of daily life.

However for this to happen, there is a great need for high speed internet connectivity. The world is already moving to a whole new ball game of ‘latency’ through the adoption of 5G technology.

Early this year, MTN Uganda hosted a successful 5G trial showcase that was the first of its kind in East Africa but according to Sen, that is of no consequence unless it finds relevance, practicality, and commercial viability within its end users.

Sen observes that the National Broadband policy will ease Uganda’s journey to her own 4IR.

“I believe the government’s broadband policy will pave the way of Uganda’s journey towards its own 4IR. Our responsibility as the leading Telecom and Technology Company is therefore to align to this vision and work with the government and the people of Uganda at large to convert it into reality,” Sen says.

He further adds that as the leading telecom service provider of this country, MTN not only sits at the helm of the technology delivery but also has a responsibility of making the technology relevant and affordable to the common people of Uganda.

He however notes that MTN cannot do it alone. “Every stakeholder must jump onto the band wagon. Regulators must encourage policies that are robust and friendly towards both customers, and Technology Service Providers. Revenue authorities must objectively evaluate existing tax regimes to eliminate possible bottlenecks, especially in the Data and Mobile money space,” says Sen.

He notes that MTN’s vision is to support all these stakeholders and work with them to deliver a bold new digital world to all their customers.

“With our robust 3G and 4G network rollout plan across the country, with our already existing largest fibre footprint, we are building a strong future focused high-speed connectivity infrastructure in Uganda,” Sen says.

As MTN we have a big role to play. We have to embrace it and lead the way to Uganda’s very own 4th Industrial revolution by providing the best telecommunications network and digital services, and solutions that are relevant, affordable and customized for the specific needs of Uganda.



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Celebrity Gossip

Madrat & Chiko bag multi-million deal with Tecno Mobile

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By BigEyeUg Team

As Tecno Mobile celebrates its 12th anniversary, Uganda’s comic duo Madrat & Chiko are to eat big in this campaign.

Madrat and Chiko are to run an ambassadorial role for Tecno Mobile phones throughout its ongoing campaign ‘Tecno At 12Yrs’.

The duo is championing a campaign where one is can purchase any Tecno phone at a discounted price and stand a chance to win prizes.

The campaign is valid from 1st-31st August 2020 as Tecno Mobile celebrates 12years in the business.

See photos here;

We will keep you posted

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Tech and Gadgets

Magic1 TV Management denies owning replica channel ‘MAGIC 1HD’ on StarTimes

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By BigEyeUg Team

Renowned Uganda’s entertainment TV channel, Magic1 management has opened up on the issue of owning a rather similar channel dubbed ‘MAGIC 1HD’ on StarTimes digital platform.

In a statement released regarding the change of Magic1 TV via StarTimes pay TV platform, the management of Magic1 TV which is a subsidiary channel of Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) is aware of the replica channel known as (MAGIC 1HD).

The management has noticed that MAGIC 1HD has replaced UBC’s original channel known as ‘Magic1’ TV on channel 242 via Star Times Pay TV platform and caused confusion among its stakeholders.

Therefore, ‘Magic1 TV’ is not legally responsible for Magic 1HD channel as portrayed by Star Times.

The official channel that is registered by UCC under Uganda Broadcasting Corporation is Magic1 TV is carried on channel 820 on Go TV and channel 36 on free to air decorders.

In no event shall Magic1 TV be liable for any special, direct, indirect, consequential, or incidental damages or any damages whatsoever, whether in an action of contract or other tort, arising out of connection with the use of the services of Magic 1HD.

In this matter, Uganda Broadcasting Corporation is in touch with Uganda Communications Commission to resolve this matter with Star Times as soon as possible.

Here is the official statement;

We will keep you posted.

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