BAD NEWS CROWDS IN ON KENYA TELKOM WITH UNPAID BILLS AND SYSTEM FAILURE

Telecoms

It proved a particularly bad week for Kenya Telkom whose future has yet to be decided by the new Kenyan government:

- It revealed that it is owed a massive Sh11 billion by thousands of local subscribers and foreign missions who have defaulted in payment. Managing Director, Mr Augustine Cheserem, said the corporation has began disconnecting all affected lines in a last ditch effort to recover some of the money. Communication to Government offices and parastatals countrywide, which are some of the biggest defaulters, will be affected by the disconnection. Cheserem said the ministries last cleared their bills in 1998 when Telkom was separated from Kenya Postal Corporation. He said some subscribers on Jambonet, the country’s backbone internet service provider, will also be disconnected for a Sh154 million debt. Also to be cut off are those connected to Kenstream who have failed to pay Sh300 million, bringing the grand total to Sh11.54 billion.

- Links between mobile and fixed telephones went down for several days last week, sparking an outcry from consumers. The problem was blamed on a breakdown of Telkom Kenya’s transmission terminals. In statement Telkom said:"Telecommunication services to some destinations outside Nairobi, including mobile networks and to Uganda and Tanzania, have been congested since 2 pm on March 12." It added that the problem was caused by a "software corruption" in an optical fibre transmission terminal connecting Nairobi and other Telkom and mobile phone networks.

- A cooperative society is owed Sh90 million in contributions by Telkom Kenya, it was claimed last week. And Telepost Cooperative Society now wants the Cooperative Development minister Njeru Ndwiga to intervene and have the funds paid. The money was deducted from members’ salaries in the last three months, said cooperative members.They complained that they had not received loans in the last three months because Telkom had withheld their contributions from the society, which has some 19,000 members.

The Nation