Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) says the public Wi-Fi initiative the authority is implementing will enhance learning among students.
The initiative is being implemented under the Digital Malawi Project championed by the Public Private Partnership Commission (PPPC) and Macra. It aims to establish 30 free Wi-Fi hotspots in various public places nationwide.
Macra acting director of financial regulation Andrew Nyirenda said development of the sector has been frustrated by lack of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure, especially in rural areas.
He said: “There are some pockets of society in Malawi that do not access and use ICT.
“However, as Macra, through the universal service project, we are hopeful that such areas will be covered soon.”
Nyirenda said that as at December 2020, Malawi’s Internet penetration was at 37 percent.
On his part, PPPC digital project manager Chimwemwe Matemba said the pilot phase will cover all central and some district hospitals.
He said: “Blantyre and Lilongwe city markets as well as four national libraries in all the regions have also been targeted for the free Wi-Fi.
“We also contacted Office Mart to install Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning [Rachel] in selected secondary schools.”
Matemba said about 16 secondary schools and four national libraries in all the country’s four regions have been selected as beneficiaries of the free public Wi-Fi.
The project, being funded by the World Bank to the tune of K1.2 bilion, is expected to improve student performance through easy access to study materials within their schools and national libraries.
It is also expected to reduce the digital divide as people with computers and phones will be able to access the Internet freely.