Broadband ‘boosts growth’

Every economy today requires broadband for growth and prosperity, says Joseph Tiampati, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology.

The Principal Secretary was speaking at the official opening of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization (CTO) Broadband Forum in Nairobi this week.

He said the theme of this year’s event, “Broadband for Accelerated Growth”, could not have been more relevant especially at such a time when countries are seeking homegrown solutions to expand the access of internet and ICTs to citizens. “

He noted: “In many of the less developed nations, infrastructure development is still insufficient in spite of it forming one of the key ingredients for a robust ICT industry.”

Tiampati said public-private partnerships and investment would be critical in delivering access to all.

In addition, he said, mobile broadband is the fabric in the use of ICTs for development.  Describing mobile telephony as ‘one of the greatest innovations of our time’, he noted that Kenya had 32.2 million mobile - a mobile penetration of 79.2% - and 2.9 million broadband subscriptions in the country.

“As we deliberate on how to deploy broadband infrastructure, we must also think of how demand by the users can be stimulated.  Availability and affordability, which go hand in hand, must also be at the centre of our discussions to ensure a robust ecosystem is developed. This is a key determinant as to whether more people will acquire smart devices that are most ideal for broadband access.  Mobile handsets have become a companion for many. They are used for research, financial transactions, accessing Internet and conducting business, among others.  Credit goes to the private sector and innovators who are active in developing new technologies and working to match consumer expectations.”

“As we look at development and basic foundation of broadband, let us also not lose sight of the emerging challenges, especially those arising from the growing complexity of connectivity within the cyberspace. I am quite pleased to learn that CTO will also facilitate a cybersecurity workshop alongside the forum,” he added.

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