(Victoria Rubadiri) The Kenya ICT Board has called for infrastructure-sharing in the country’s budding ICT industry as a sure way of bringing down the cost of connectivity for end-users.
The Board’s CEO Paul Kukubo says the multiplicity of parallel infrastructure, sometimes connecting the same communication nodes, had resulted in haphazard development, constant damages and heavy cost of maintenance, which was eventually being borne by consumers.
“Players in the ICT industry need to have a common and robust conversation on the merits and demerits of infrastructure-sharing and related costs. There is urgent need for a common infrastructure investment plan that will be complimentary and not destructive and wasteful like the current scenario,” Kukubo said.
He was speaking during the inaugural Soliton Expo, which drew leading ICT organizations from various levels over the weekend.
Kukubo was reacting to remarks by Soliton Telmec CEO Eng. Abdirahman Omar Sheikh, who had observed that the absence of infrastructure-sharing had put the benefits of ICT beyond the reach of most Kenyans.
Eng. Sheikh gave the example of a single street in Nairobi which has fibre optic cable lines put up by six different companies.
After a converged licensing regime was introduced in 2008, the barriers to market entry were lowered, which subsequently increased competition by allowing operators to offer any kind of service in a technology, and service.
As a result, several fibre infrastructure sharing agreements have been forged as way to manage costs.
Last year Safaricom and Telkom Kenya formed a jointly owned tower management company that leases collocated tower space to interested parties wishing to install wireless communication equipment.
The Expo themed “Building networks for life” was aimed at sharing experiences, networking and unveiling of the latest technology and demonstrated solutions entailing Quality and Service Assurance Solutions, deployment and maintenance practices, IP Surveillance, Fibre optic planning, security and data backup services as well as solutions for the real estate industry.