Kenya plans speedy Internet in counties


The government is planning to have all counties covered with fixed broadband in the next eight months. Bitange Ndemo, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Information and Communication said works to re-route the National Optic Fiber Infrastructure(NOFBI) in order to cover all the 47 counties will start soon.

The first phase of laying the NOFBI has already been completed. However the project was based on the old administrative boundaries leaving out some key points marked in the new constitution. "At the moment, 16 counties headquarters do not have access to optic fibre infrastructure, " said the PS, "It is important to re-evaluate the routing of NOFBI to ensure that all regions are properly irrigated by this telecommunication life line" .

Ndemo said this is will also boost plans to have electronic voting in next year's general elections. He was speaking during the release of a study on ICT Access Gaps Study commissioned by the Communication Commission of Kenya. The research shows only 5 per cent of the population have access to the internet. Majority of the connected are on mobile internet, the survey found.

In most counties, ICT data usage is below 5 per cent with the lowest parts being in in the North and Eastern . On the other hand ,the study conducted by Apoyo Consultoria showed 47 per cent of the population have access to mobile telephony. Ndemo says the last mile broadband connection to the whole population is yet to be covered, two years after the fibre optic cable landed in the country. "The mobile penetration is commendable, but even so, up to 5 million Kenyans cannot access communication even if they are able to pay for it, access to broadband must become a human rights issue."

To close the voice and data gaps, the consultants have recommended waiving of the spectrum fees and Universal Access Funds in order to encourage more private investors to go to rural areas that otherwise appear economically unviable.The PS said government was exploring the option of sharing infrastructure with the private sector players in reaching the counties.