KENYAN GOVT ACCUSED OF DRAGGING ITS FEET OVER COMPETITORS TO JAMBONET

Internet

Frustration is welling up in the local Internet industry following an apparent Government inaction in breaking Telkom Kenya’s monopoly in the provision of international gateway services.

At least two firms - Fastlane Ltd (a consortium of 8 ISPs) and Assat Communications - have applied for a licence to compete with the State firm’s Jambonet service, and are waiting for a Gazette notice by Transport and Communications minister John Michuki to know their fate at the hands of regulator Communications Commission of Kenya.

Such a notice would enable the minister to invoke section 5 (5) of the Telecommunications Act of 1998, which provides that "no monopoly or duopoly licence to operate a telecommunications system or provide any telecommunications service shall be granted by the minister or the commission". Industry sources told BusinessWeek that the CCK had already indicated its willingness to license other international gateway providers, as long as the necessary Gazette notice was in place.

"The regulatory framework in Kenya is therefore set and all that remains is for the minister to gazette this notice. The CCK would then be able to license other operators to provide international data and voice service," said Mr Sammy Buruchara, chairman of the Telecommunications Service Providers of Kenya.

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