Ruto said that there is the need to address infrastructure challenges, cost of deployment and access so that more people can be able to enjoy the service at a lower cost.
He said the cost of deployment can be addressed by sharing of infrastructure among service providers thereby translating into lower tariffs for end users.
“I encourage you to spearhead opening up of regions by harmonizing policies and regulatory frameworks create a single, greater East African market,” he said.
He said unless communication coverage was extended to rural areas with larger population, it would be hard to reduce the poverty levels among communities living in such areas.
“We must commit more resources to develop the communication sub – sectors with the target of covering a greater percentage of our people especially in rural areas,” he urged
He called on mobile service providers to consider adjusting cost of calling not only within the same network but also across networks.
Ruto emphasized on the need for a clear broadband framework both for Kenya and the region at large.
“Broadband is recognized for its high correlation with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth. It has high impact on productivity of nations,’’ said Ruto.
Ruto noted that it is necessary to have clear policies that address the given the rise in data services as opposed to voice.
“With digital migration we will have more efficient use of frequencies. This therefore necessitates the adherence to the global deadline of 2015,” said Ruto
The Deputy President expressed concern that it was expensive to access large volumes of data adding that it was prudent for service providers to find ways of lowering the cost.
“The ICT industry should catalyse the development of other sectors given the explosion of internet use,’’ he said.
He encouraged East African countries to strengthen their efforts and resolve to pursue new technologies towards sustainable economic growth.
The Deputy President was speaking during the opening of the 20th East Africa Communication Organisation (EACO) congress and exhibition at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC), Nairobi, where he was the Chief Guest.
The four- day conference themed ‘Making broad band work for socio-economic growth in Africa’ brought together communication experts from the East Africa Region.