Kenya fast tracks Vision 2030
By Semaj Itosno, Nairobi, Kenya
Kenya is taking Internet connectivity a notch higher by rolling out terrestrial cable to all 47 counties.
This move will extend Internet from major urban centres to the rural areas as envisioned in the country’s ambitious vision 2030.
Information, Communication and Technology Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiang’i said the move would ensure Kenyans in rural areas access public information online without travelling to major urban centres.
Speaking at the just ended Connected Kenya summit in Mombasa, Matiang’i said Kenya has been rolling out Internet infrastructure for the past decade with aim of becoming a regional ICT hub.
“We are now looking into rolling out a second phase of the National Optical Fibre Backbone Infrastructure to spread across the 47 counties,” said Matiang’i.
The devolved Internet services will be a big boost to service delivery, in line with the vision of the current government.
Among other ICT projects lined for implementation include disbursement of laptops to all class one pupils in public schools beginning next year.
Data from Communication Commission of Kenya shows that the country needs over sh74 billion to supply telecommunication services to under served rural areas in Kenya.
The statistics show that 72% of all Kenyans do not have access to Internet services and 11% do not have access to voice services.
To close this gap, the government has set up a Universal service Fund (USF) that targets to raise sh1 billion yearly from the telcom industry to deepen penetration of mobile and Internet services countrywide.
From CCK data, the USF collection projections for the 2013/14 financial year stands at sh789 million meaning there is a short fall from the targeted sh1 billion.
However CCK has given the USF sh1billion as seed money to jump start its operations according to Susan Mochache, CCK assistant director of Universal Service Obligation.
The USF will officially begin work in July this year after a standoff between CCK and the telcom industry over the fund was resolved.