CA releases fresh ICT access gap study

By Dhahabu Writer

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) today (Tuesday) released final access gap study that will help implement a billion shilling kitty to connect ICT scarce areas.

CA in September 2015 contracted Intelecon Research and Consultancy Ltd to undertake the ICT Access Gaps Study in Kenya as part of the implementation of Universal Service Fund (USF) programmes.

The ICT Access Gaps Report will be officially launched by ICT CS Mr Joe Mucheru, accompanied by CA Board Chairman, Ngene Gituku, Director General Francis Wangusi and the Universal Service Advisory Council (USAC) Chairperson, Catherine Ngahu and industry stakeholders.

“Today we mark a milestone as we finally release the complete access gap study for rollout of ICT services in uncovered areas,” CA board chairman, Ben Gituku, is quoted saying “We will tell Kenyans where we are as of now in terms of Internet access, timelines will be involved……by 2018, we want to ensure the entire country has access to ICT services.”

The study is the second, it follows a study conducted in 2010, which was dismissed by media and telecom firms who said it was outdated and could not help in implementing the funds.

The previous study had noted that an estimated Sh100 billion was needed to close the access gap. However CA Director General Francis Wangusi said at the moment thrice the amount is needed because the cost of setting up base stations has escalated and massive ICT changes have transformed the industry.

Mr Wangusi late last year tried to initiate a move would ensure telecom firms begin setting up base stations to ease down the cost of closing the ICT access gap. However, the study that has been ongoing will now create a way forward in implementing the fund or closing the gaps earlier enough with the available resources.

The regulator had proposed in the letter that the telecom firms should set up base stations in marginalised areas at their own cost. In the letter, the regulator promises to reduce the spectrum rates on the base stations.

Safaricom, Airtel Kenya and Telkom Kenya have welcomed the move to be allowed to set up base stations in marginalised areas.

“This is a positive move towards bridging the digital divide, we also want the regulator to allow us construct base stations instead of making contributions to them, that are later turned into sites,” said Safaricom Director Corporate Affairs, Stephen Chege.

Airtel chief Adil El Youssefi and Telkom Kenya boss, Vincent Lobri, both noted that the deal would be more appropriate than the annual collection of funds. It is however unclear how the plans went, as telecoms had requested a fresh study which is now set for release, before embarking on any implementation plan.


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