In a bid to position the state as the digital and business hub of the southeast geopolitical zone, the Enugu state government has rolled out a metro Wifi project, a statewide wireless network.
The low-cost Wi-Fi hotspot connection project, which runs under a first-of-its-kind franchise model, offers job opportunities to Enugu youths as independent data resellers, who are deployed across various locations within the state known as Wi-Fi zones.
With the WiFi data, which is sold at NGN 250/GB by agents in 22 WiFi zones of the state, users can have more access to the Internet via their mobile phones or personal computers.
The project, which is a boost to the digital economy of the state and the medium and small-scale businesses, is part of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s job creation initiatives, as well as, his commitment to the betterment of Ndi-Enugu.
Speaking on the project, Arinze Chilo-Offiah, special adviser to the Governor on SME Development and head, Enugu SME Center, explained that the aim of the project is to enable the youths in Enugu State to become gainfully employed by reselling Internet data at lower rates, as well as, driving a lot of users to subscribe for data using mobile apps.
Enumerating the socio-economic benefits of the initiative, Chilo-Offiah noted that: “It will boost employment opportunities, which is part of the job creation initiatives of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and also provide data at lower cost”.
According to the special adviser to the Governor on SME Development and head, Enugu SME Center, the Enugu WiFi franchise model is a business model that enables individuals or groups to acquire the Enugu WiFi devices for the purpose of reselling Internet to people within their WiFi zones at a cheaper rate for the purpose of making a profit.
The project is coming at a time there is an urgent need to bridge the digital gap and the state seems to be taking the lead.
Moreover, the coronavirus pandemic has prompted a surge in the ongoing efforts to bridge the digital divide between those who do and those who do not have access to internet connections necessary for distance learning, remote work, telemedicine, and day-to-day essential services.
According to Chilo-Offiah, the COVID-19 pandemic is shining a bright light on what was already a significant challenge for the state such as delivering ubiquitous, scalable broadband connectivity to people in the state, as well as, businesses. The crisis has fueled the energy around seeing these deliverables come to fruition as broadband is no longer a luxury, but the critical infrastructure for all.
“I am proud of the work to bring connectivity to our communities, and I will continue challenging our public and private partners to break down systemic barriers for our students and MSMEs to have access to learn and connect using online tools,” Chilo-Offiah concluded.
The project is modelled after the live WiFi offering built by Wicrypt; an Enugu-based Tech company, which allows its users to get paid while sharing their WiFi.
Excited on the WiFi rollout, Aronu Ugochukwu, CEO of Wicrypt, said: “This solution will enable over 3 million residents in Enugu State to have access to affordable Internet”.
Moreover, offices, homes, parks, can purchase the WiFi to provide free Internet at their establishments or for resale purposes.
With just 22 WiFi zones in the rollout stage, the Enugu State government, through the Enugu SME Center, the sponsor of the Wi-Fi hotspot connection, is hoping to increase the number of the zones to over 500 by the end of the year.