Governors have been urged to develop infrastructure, data and applications necessary to simplify the installation process and enable ease in network connectivity in their counties. This was appealed at the ICT Expo held from the 4th to 6th last week at Central Park in Nanyuki sponsored by Safaricom, Technobrain, Orange and eManage that consolidated more than 45 County ICT executives.
The summit functions as a platform for consultation, collaboration, capacity building and knowledge sharing between the government and the ICT sector with a view of linking and hastening implementation of government IT projects to world-class standard.
Present at the summit was the ICT Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiang’i, who warned that the high way-leaves charged on internet service providers by county governments could hinder faster connectivity across the country.
“Moving the fibre across the country has been a matter of concern. As national government, we ask ourselves what policy sacrifices we have to make to ensure there is a connection in all counties. There is need to support this course, said Dr. Matiang’i.
Currently, the focus is on the County Connectivity Project (CCP), a two-phased scheme that an official of CCP, Mr. Thomas Odhiambo speaking at the summit confirmed has provided the “last mile” which provides 155 megabits per second (mbps) to accelerate fibre network connectivity in all areas.
“CCP has provided the last mile to give the people a means to access the fibre network,” said Mr. Odhiambo.
Dr. Matiang’i also said that it was the responsibility of the county governments to facilitate the provision of last mile connection to give more Kenyans affordable internet services.
The summit marked two weeks since the Belgium Government injected KSh 1.2 billion into the ICT sector meant to cater for Phase II of the project. (Read: Belgium signs a KSh3.1 billion deal to boost Kenya’s development)
“The completion of Phase II which consists of connecting the remaining 19 counties is underway,’’ Mr. Odhiambo added.
At the moment, Phase I of the project connecting 28 counties including; Nyeri, Machakos, Laikipia, Isiolo, Meru amid others has been completed with fibre network consisting of 70 different sites. The completion of Phase I focused on civil registration, which comprises of births and deaths registrations and finance in particular counties.
Mr. Odhiambo noted CCP is on a mission to deliver a state of the art network operation centre which will monitor the network usage in the whole country. However, given the high way- leaves being charged by the counties, this poses as a challenge to companies interested in laying the fibre in the country.
“We want to have a conversation with county governments to try to help them understand the benefits accrued from a supportive environment so that we can grow infrastructure. If we levy heavy fees, we are going to affect the movement of infrastructure,” said Dr. Matiang’i.
The project is set to provide video conferencing facilities for county commissioners and high bundles for broadband connections to enable civil servants and the public at large to access high speed internet.