, NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 23 – The roadmap that will integrate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) into various sectors of the economy – National Broadband Strategy – has been launched.
The strategy when implemented will see Internet connectivity increased countrywide and transform the country into a knowledge-based economy driven by a nationwide broadband network.
Speaking at the launch in Nairobi on Tuesday, Communication Commission of Kenya Director General Francis Wangusi said that this strategy will raise broadband Internet penetration to 35 percent by 2017 from 6.3 percent currently.
“The National Broadband Strategy (NBS) will provide an ICT road map that shall enable Kenya achieve its aspiration of becoming a globally competitive and prosperous newly industrialized middle-income country with a high quality of life by 2030,” he said.
He explained that all schools and health facilities are also expected to have Internet by then and that minimum speeds will be 40Mbps for urban and 5Mbps for rural.
Market based investments will still be maintained with the universal service fund being used to provide access to impoverished, isolated and disadvantaged populations. Access to the National Fibre Optic Backbone – 1 (NOFB 1) will be on open basis.
On his part, ICT Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said the government has set up a working group to align the ICT sector policy and legislation with the Constitution.
Matiang’i said that this will see the establishment of Kenya ICT Authority to consolidate the functions of Directorate of E-Government and ICT Board.
Current employees of the Communication Commission of Kenya will be transited seamlessly to the new body to be created, named Communications Regulatory Authority.
In a speech read by Ministry of Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru, Deputy President William Ruto said the government shall continue to work with the private sector to invest in telecommunication infrastructure.
“We recognise the need to extend the fibre optic network to all parts of the country, support the establishment of a national wireless network and build neutral data centres,” he said.
Ruto said that the government will increase spending in ICT from 0.5 percent to 5 percent of budget with a view of enhancing e-government, e-health, national security, distance learning and telecommuting.
He said that market-based investments will still be maintained with the universal service fund being used to provide access to impoverished, isolated and disadvantaged populations.
Access to the National Fibre Optic Backbone (NOFB 1) will be on open basis.
“The government is keen extending National Optic Fibre Backbone from 20,000km to 50,000km, digitization of core government registries, and development of data centres in very ward,” Ruto said.
National Steering Committee of the National Broadband Strategy Chairperson Susan Wekesa said that the project requires a total funding of Sh258 billion.
“The bulk will go to infrastructure (Long Term Evolution, (for last-mile connection), and Backbone), 20 percent of infrastructure will go to content applications and innovations and 10 percent of infrastructure will go into capacity building and awareness,” she said.
She said the rest will go into a contingency kitty.
Wekesa said additional funding will be raised in the form of a Sh70 billion broadband infrastructure bond while the government will back a Sh30 billion venture capital fund.