Kenya to fight telecoms sabotage

November 3, 2009
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, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 3- The government plans to engage with telecommunication service providers to devise ways of curbing sabotage of telecommunication’s network systems in the market.

Information Permanent Secretary Dr Bitange Ndemo said on Tuesday that the measures would involve encouraging players to exchange capacity by – for example – linking their cables to each other’s as one way of curtailing the vice.

“If for example Telkom (Kenya) had a wire running in KDN (Kenya Data Networks), and KDN has one running in Telkom and Jamii Telecommunications the same thing, then it would be useless for one to cut (the cables),” he argued.

His remarks came a day after Safaricom’s network was affected by five cuts on the KDN cable in Nairobi, which disrupted their normal data and voice traffic.

The PS  admitted that that the acts are rampant in the industry but pledged that the government would clamp-down on the culprits.

“Telkom Kenya gets a lot of cuts on a daily basis, now (its happening to) KDN. It has to be one of the competitors doing such a thing,” he said.

He regretted that some operators had resulted to using such tactics instead of developing innovative products that can compete effectively in the market.

Dr Ndemo however attributed this to a total disregard of the laws adding that they would severely punish the offenders who will be caught doing so.

The Kenya Communications (Amendment) Act 2008 imposes a five-year jail term for anyone vandalising telecommunication equipment.

“Its just impunity, there’s law but people ignore that law. Kenyans must get to the point where they respect the law if that doesn’t happen then it will be like we are living in a jungle,” he stated.

On the Safaricom issue, Dr Ndemo said investigations had been launched into the claims so as to establish the people behind the action.

In a statement released on Monday, the listed operator said the disruption of normal services affected their services.

“As a result, there was an unusually high rate of dropped calls and most calls were not terminating as required. The outage also affected the firm’s suite of data services, including Internet access,” said the Chief Executive Officer Michael Joseph..

Mr Joseph said they had already lodged complaints with the Communications Commission of Kenya.

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