CA to spend Sh5bn to roll out fibre internet in 19 counties

Fibre Optic

Workers lay the fibre-optic cable in Nyeri town. CA is set to spend Sh5 billion to roll out fibre optic cable connectivity in 19 counties.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) is set to spend Sh5 billion to roll out fibre optic cable connectivity in 19 counties.

CA on Monday signed an agreement with the ICT Authority (ICTA) which will oversee the implementation of the project.

The agreement gives effect to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the two institutions in December 2022.

The project shall be implemented within a maximum period of three years.

The funds for the project will be drawn from the Universal Service Fund (USF).

The USF was set up through the Kenya Communications (Amendment) Act, 2009, managed by CA.

The role of the Fund is to accelerate access to ICT services across the country and is funded by levies on mobile network operators (MNOs), appropriations from the government as well as grants and donations.

The move is in line with the USF objective of facilitating the rollout of infrastructure and communications services in unserved and underserved areas, said CA.

The counties targeted in the project include Turkana, West Pokot, Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, Samburu, Marsabit, Mandera, Tana River and Lamu.

Others are Kilifi, Kwale, Kitui, Laikipia, Isiolo, Garissa, Wajir, Kitui, Makueni, Kajiado and Narok.

The project supports the government’s digitization plan on the deployment of 100,000 kilometres of optic fibre, as part of efforts to enhance access to broadband across the country.

‘‘What we are doing today is phenomenal and will greatly transform the country in the years to come,’’ said CA Director General Mr. Ezra Chiloba at the signing ceremony.

ICTA Chief Executive Officer Stanley Kamanguya hailed the partnership with CA stating that it will go a long way in the attainment of the digital transformation agenda.

‘‘It is an interesting time to begin the 100,000-kilometre journey,’’ he observed.

ICTA, which was set up in 2013 to drive the government’s digitization efforts, in February issued a tender for the project that will see the State up some 25,000 Wi-Fi hotspots across the country.

“The digital superhighway will play a critical role in enabling Kenya to make tremendous achievements in economic development as an enabler of the economy,” said the firm.

“The digital superhighway will also play a critical role in enabling us to make the tremendous achievements of Health, Agriculture, MSME and Financing as well in enhancing revenue collection via automation of VAT systems,” it added.

This comes at a time the government is seeking to digitize and automate all critical government processes throughout the country, with a view to bringing at least 80 per cent of all government services online to ease service delivery.