KAMPALA — Makerere University has issued a new cyber advisory warning students that virtual private networks (VPNs) affect the access to zero-rated sites.
“This is because a VPN changes one’s location and IP address. The current IPs for the sites are located in Uganda not in Europe, the USA, China, Germany, etc. With VPN the sites cease to be zero-rated,” the University said in an advisory.
Internet service providers including MTN Uganda, Airtel Uganda and Africell zero rated access to Makerere University E-Learning and other platforms.
At least six web portals were zero-rated including muele.mak.ac.ug, admissions.mak.ac.ug, aims.mak.ac.ug, student.mak.ac.ug, payments.mak.ac.ug and webconf.mak.ac.ug.
This means the sites can be accessed without internet data.
However, as online learning and teaching resume using emergency ODeL model there were several complaints coming in from both staff and students that they can’t access the sites.
“It has come to our attention and after serious analysis and experimentation that when VPN is turned on, it affects access to the zero-rated sites. We have also confirmed this with the Telcos(MTN, AIRTEL & AFRICELL)” the university said.
The university said that those using VPNs on their smart-phone, Laptop, and Desktop won’t be able to access the free sites.
“We do encourage staff and students to turn off their VPNs while trying to access the zero-rated sites,” the university said
VPNs, which route web traffic through a foreign server to avoid local controls, are commonly used by universities and research establishments.