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Lack of Radio Station, Poor Network Connectivity Cripples Communication in Amudat :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Lack of Radio Station, Poor Network Connectivity Cripples Communication in Amudat

Joseph Lobot, the LC5 chairperson of Amudat district, says that they use the Safaricom mobile network in the district. He explains that officials are forced to cross over 120 Kilometers to Kenya for radio services.
At least 41 percent of the households are reported owning a mobile phones across the region with the highest proportion noted in Amudat.

Audio 4

Amudat district authorities have raised concerns over poor network connectivity and a lack of a Radio Station that has frustrated communication. The main telecommunication companies in the region are MTN Uganda and Airtel Uganda. However, the network connectivity in Amudat district remains a big challenge. There is no radio signal in the district, which hinders information sharing.  

Residents of the district rely on Kenyan radio stations and the Safaricom telecommunication network whose rates are higher than Ugandan networks, which has frustrated service delivery and community mobilization for government programs. Joseph Lobot, the LC5 chairperson of Amudat district, says that they use the Safaricom mobile network in the district. He explains that officials are forced to cross over 120 Kilometers to Kenya for radio services.

Lobot said that the alarming communication barriers are crippling service delivery in the district because they cannot sensitize the public on government programs. He noted that the slow internet connection forces the Chief Administrative Officer to cross over to other districts to process salary payments for staff.

Lobot also revealed that the lack of a radio station has also cost the district a lot of money to cross over to Kenya for talk shows in case they want to communicate to the masses. Lobot explained that they pay Shillings 1.5 million for an hour on radio and facilitating the guests but unfortunately, the community cannot call back for feedback because the studio lines used are for Safaricom, which is hard for Ugandan networks to penetrate.

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Peninah Cheruto, the Achorichor Sub County female councilor observed that the poor internet connections frustrated them during the filling of the Parish Development Model data into the system. Cheruto added that sometimes when they mobilize people using Kenyan radios, the neighboring community at the border also crosses into the district to benefit from the government programs.

She noted that the lack of radio stations has made the community miss local content and the useful information broadcasted on the radio. Cheruto appealed to the government and telecommunication companies to ensure that they establish a radio station and build more network boosters to improve communication.

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John Lopus, the Karita town council male councilor shares the same experience asserting that the lack of a Radio Station and poor telephone network has kept the district backward as they cannot get timely information. Lopus noted that many people own phones in the community but use them for playing music instead of their intended purpose. 

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Rtd Maj Betty Akello Otekat, the Amudat Resident District Commissioner said that the mobile phone network automatically switches into the Safaricom network and this weakens the Ugandan networks. 

Akello noted that communication has not been easy and they are forced to spend more money to communicate using Safaricom as the only alternative. She also notes the absence of radio stations has failed most of the government programs because the public is never sensitized about the processes. 

Akello says that they have to rely on partners to facilitate them to cross over to Kenya for the radio talk show, which sometimes limits the discussions to the interest of the facilitator. 

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However, Rhona Arinaitwe, the MTN spokesperson confirmed the crisis asserting that they are looking forward to enhancing their coverage in the next two years, which should place the region at 90 percent geographical coverage. ‘’At MTN we believe that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life and that is why with the newly acquired spectrum, we are embarking on upgrading all the existing sites,’’ Arinaitwe explained. 

Arinaitwe added that they have the latest technology, which is believed to be superfast data connectivity to all regions including Karamoja. She said that so far 10 sites out of 52 in the whole region have been upgraded utilizing the additional 10 MHz spectrum recently acquired from the regulator.