British telecom firm Liquid has won a global award for connecting Nakuru’s Central Business District with a reliable Wi-Fi network.
The network, which was built in collaboration with the Office of the President, won the Best Connecting the Unconnected Initiative award during the Global Telecoms Awards ceremony in London last Thursday.
The awards, now entering their fourth year, shine a spotlight on the industry’s most innovative companies as well as recognise innovation and excellence across the board.
The network built under the Nakuru BilaWaya initiative, covers a 10-kilometre radius from the city’s Central Business District (CBD) and is built around strategic points that makes it accessible to the highest proportions of the town’s population.
More than 300 concurrent users enjoy the service during working hours.
With 51 nodes installed, the network serves users in the streets and open public areas such as stadia and parks.
The nodes are concentrated along the town’s Kenyatta Avenue, Geofffrey Kamau Road, Top Market, the main bus terminus in the CBD, Afraha Stadium, the county headquarters, Nyayo Gardens and the Westside Mall. Academic institutions in Nakuru also enjoy the free, outdoor, Wi-Fi access, among them JKUAT Nakuru Campus and Mount Kenya University.
The free Wi-Fi has enabled rapid access to information that is vital for economic growth and has increased the use of e-learning tools in the city.
The WiFi has, for example, given farmers access to online tools that can increase their yields and income helping them with farm management, providing discounts on seeds, providing diagnosis on plant diseases and calculation of the ROI on irrigation projects and others.
“Whether you are a farmer, student or engineer, the Internet nowadays is something you can rely on. Residents of Nakuru have benefited so much because of this Wi-Fi because they now have information, which is power,” said Leonard Kirui, Nakuru County ICT Chief Officer.
A portal — BilaWaya —has also been created to provide a wealth of valuable and practical advice for Internet novices, as well as the more experienced.