A statement last week from Sammy Buruchara, Chair of private sector group TESPOK lashed monopoly international bandwidth provider Jambonet for disruption of service and called on the Government to speed up the issuing of competitor licences.

"For the past two weeks, the Internet in Kenya has experienced a major deterioration in terms of stability, performance and general availability. This has been related to equipment upgrades that Telkom Kenya, the sole providers of Internet backbone services have been carrying out on the National gateway, Jambonet. Over the past few days local ISPs have been affected in a variety of ways, in some cases there have been extended outages, while the majority continue to experience exceedingly low speeds. These factors combined have and are affecting delivery of email messages in and out of the country as well as severely hampering the ability to browse websites".

"Kenyans have suffered greatly during this period, as most companies have been unable to conduct business with their international partners. ISPs and Cyber Cafes have lost millions of shillings during this period, and the general Kenyan population and users of the Internet have been once more doubtful of this new technology as a reliable means of communication and an information resource".

"The Telecommunication Service Providers of Kenya wishes to highlight this as a showcase example of the need for speeding up the liberalization of Internet Gateways to provide competition in the sector, which would ensure high quality of service and alternate routes to the Internet".

"In June this year, our President, His Excellency Hon. Mwai Kibaki launched the Economic Recovery Strategy in which among other things the Government has committed to licensing four other Internet Gateway providers to compete with Jambonet. This was a positive development and an indication that our Government recognizes the key role that communication technology plays as an enabler. This commitment therefore needs to be implemented by the relevant agencies as a matter of urgency in order to prevent Kenya from continuing to incur high losses in telecommunications as a result of depending on only one provider, Telkom Kenya".

"We understand that several companies have already applied for these licenses as far back as January of this year. The industry is therefore calling for urgent action in the issuance of these licenses. This is one of the economic recovery measures that will not require any direct government expenditure. Rather it would harness private sector investment into critical infrastructure and further sources of tax revenue for the exchequer".

"For the sake of the economy of this country, for the sake of keeping the few jobs directly and indirectly related to a functioning telecommunications infrastructure, we urge the government to come to the aid of its people by allowing other providers to offer International Data Gateway Services".