Tele-centres struggle to take-off

The government may lose Rwf155m if the requirements needed to operate equipment Public Information Kiosks (PIK) are not met soon.The equipment is practically not functioning due to low connectivity among others. A PIK unit is basically composed of a computer, a kiosk frame, a kiosk touch screen, a printer, a coin operator and a secondary screen connected via the computer and is a typical web and internet based system that operates under site-kiosk software. 

The government may lose Rwf155m if the requirements needed to operate equipment Public Information Kiosks (PIK) are not met soon.

The equipment is practically not functioning due to low connectivity among others. 

A PIK unit is basically composed of a computer, a kiosk frame, a kiosk touch screen, a printer, a coin operator and a secondary screen connected via the computer and is a typical web and internet based system that operates under site-kiosk software.

The Kiosks are currently run by Rwanda Development Board (RDB). 

The government purchased 31 Public Information Kiosks and installed in various institutions.

In an email sent to The New Times, Gilbert Ntambara, in charge of the project in RDB, revealed that the one kiosk costs £5,510 (Approx. Rwf 5m)

“All the machines have been tested and are operational. But with our situation of unstable power and internet, sometimes you find that they are not operating in case of failure of any of the above,” responded Ntambara.

However, a survey carried out by this paper indicates that most of the machines are either, not functioning or have no internet connection.

“Most of them are on and off due to limited or sometimes lack of connectivity. This has been a general problem of internet, be it on those kiosks or inside the offices or anywhere else.

However we have hope that with the current layout of Fibre Optics with higher speed, this problem will be resolved completely once the operations of the Fibre gets up and running across the country” Ntambara said.

In other countries where similar technology has been deployed, the equipment was installed where there is limited access to internet, but RDB deployed the machines in are3as that already have IT infrastructure.

“It’s true that these machines have been put in places where there is already another IT infrastructure, but based on the intention of these Kiosks, they are not purposely meant for the people working in those institutions but are instead meant for people looking for information in those particular institution.” explained Ntambara.

“In this case, the people seeking services in these institutions are the primary beneficiaries. Therefore public users/visitors to the institution are facilitated by the machine to have easy access to information”.

So the strategy is to decentralize information to the public by use of internet technology, hence contributing to e-Government strategy,” said Ntambara.

“We also think of access to information on affordable terms, where even the poor person without the advanced facilities can have access to information, therefore with the period of transforming the community from agricultural based economy to the knowledge based economy, we think this is a modern technology, not an ancient one,” added Ntambara.

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