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Kenya adopts WAN in State offices

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 31 – The government will soon commission a project which will see all its offices interconnected through the fibre optic Wide Area Network (WAN).

The program, which is dubbed ‘Government Common Core Network (GCCN)’, is being developed by the Directorate of E-government and the ICT Board and aims to provide seamless and secure communication and file sharing among the civil servants.

The Directorate’s Chief Information Officer Andrew Limo told Capital Business on Tuesday that they were nearly completing the infrastructure, which would allow the officers to communicate via teleconferencing, email and thus increase efficiency in these offices.

“GCCN will basically connect 31 government buildings, including State House. It means that all the transactions are connected such that an officer can work from anywhere. We also don’t have to spend money on mobile phones to call officers in other government ministries,” he said referring to the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

This technology allows someone to make voice calls using a broadband internet connection instead of a regular phone line.

29 buildings have so far been connected in the programme, which is part of the government’s efforts to promote electronic service delivery, such as in the issuance of identification cards, title deeds and filing of tax returns, making them more interactive.

Mr Limo said that the project would be spread throughout the country and was hopeful that with the countrywide laying of the fibre optic cables, it would be completed before mid next year.

He added that the training of public servants on areas like email, networking, and web development was ongoing in all departments.

To empower the citizens, ICT Board Chief Executive Officer Paul Kukubo disclosed that the training of the digital villages, dubbed ‘pasha centres’ had started, and that 2,000 entrepreneurs would be taught how to run cyber cafés across the country before the end of the year.

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“The pasha project is meant to play a complementary role to the efforts by the Ministries of Education and (Higher Education) Science and Technology and the private sector to train people in ICT,” Mr Kukubo explained.

The two officials spoke as the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) launched its installed Local Area Network (LAN) that connects all its 28 floors, and which will provide the tenants with high internet speed.

The LAN will be linked to an existing WAN comprising all other Ministries and selected departments.

“With over 80 percent of KICC occupied by government offices, this is an important project because it will improve access and service delivery within government and business partners,” said KICC Managing Director Philip Kisia.

Mr Kisia added that the quick digital information access would help position the building as a premier conferencing centre in the region.

“For about four years, we have been talking about installing a video conferencing facility but now it will be possible as has the VOIP services. This will make the KICC a very competitive conferencing destination,” he said.

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