Kampala, Uganda | URN | Internet users are finding challenges to access MYUG Wi-Fi, the free government internet due to the newly introduced additional requirements.
Initially, one was required to sign in into the network once with their name, email address or Facebook account, phone number, username and password, date of birth, and gender.
Once that was done, one would automatically connect to the internet once in a viable hotspot. However, some of the users say additional requirements have been introduced for them to access the MYUG Wi-Fi website whenever they attempt to sign in. They are instructed to either access internet by mobile pay or fill in an access code.
Our reporter visited City Square, Kabira Country Club and Kyambogo University Campus which used to be popular spots for MYUG Wi-Fi and found them abandoned. Bill Balwana, a free internet user explains that whenever he tries to sign in, the MYUG site tasks him to either use an access code or pay for the internet.
He has since given up and resorted to BBC free wireless internet, which is accessible in the same area.
Balwana notes that the timing for stronger connectivity, which is night time is unrealistic since people who like free internet are out of town at that time.
James Kato, another user from Kabira Country Club hotspot says that initially, he used the internet to interact with friends on social network platforms but he cannot tell why of late a password is required.
Aloysius Bainomugisha from Kyambogo University says that he would use the wireless internet for research and ever since they introduced the mobile payment, he has had no option but to pay up. He says that many of his colleagues have resumed buying data bundles on their mobile phones, which they find costly.
When one chooses the option for mobile payment on the website, they are charged Shillings 856 for a day and Shillings 5,782 for a week payable by mobile money.
MYUG Wi-Fi is free internet offered by the National Institute of Technology Authority-Uganda (NITA-U), accessible in Kampala, Wakiso and Entebbe.
Vivian Ddambya, the Director of Technical Services at National Information Technology Authority-Uganda (NITA-U) notes that the restriction is an enforcement of the initial plan which required that the free internet is available at particular hours.
“We want to protect the internet for our private subscribers during the day. The free internet can be accessed at night,” she says. Information from the National Information Technology Authority-Uganda (NITA-U) shows that free Wi-Fi is available from 3:00 pm to 6:00 am on weekends and 6:00 pm to 6:00 am on weekdays.
There are an estimated 18 million internet users in Uganda, the majority of whom are mobile users according to the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC).
Most mobile internet users prefer the free internet to reduce high data costs expenditures.