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Govt sets target on internet to villages

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 24 – The Ministry of Information and Communication is drafting regulations addressing last mile internet connectivity across the country.

This comes upon realisation that the fibre optic infrastructure had been slow to reach most parts of the country.

Information Permanent Secretary Dr Bitange Ndemo said on Tuesday that the need to roll out a last mile solution was imminent and gave an eight-month deadline of having the entire country connected.

“We need to roll out a last mile solution by all means. We started very well with the undersea cable but I think we slackened a bit when we were doing the terrestrial network,” Dr Ndemo said.

According to Ministry data, five million Kenyans do not have access to communication services while 29 million do not have access to broadband facilities.

A study carried out by Apollo Consultoria, which was commissioned by the Communications Commission of Kenya indicates that most people go onto the internet via their phones. However, given the large number of those not covered, the PS believes its time to accelerate the process.

According to Dr Ndemo, the ministry would be leaning more towards getting fixed data services to remote areas.

“When I’m talking about last mile I’m talking about a technology which would address fixed broadband, because it addresses schools, hospitals and government hospitals. We must be able to take it where it is needed,” he said.

Dr Ndemo said the rural areas are only covered by communication due to their proximity to urban areas or location in between two low cost areas.

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“We have 10 digital villages that have not been connected because operators have not been able link them because it is not cost effective,” he said.

Under the county government structure, fibre optic has reached 37 counties. The ministry intends to reach the remaining 10 counties under the last mile strategy.

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