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Stakeholders Discuss New Broadband Plan for Kenya

Posted on: 21st March 2019

Mr.Paul Kiage,charman of the Steering Committee on the review of the National Broadband Strategy (left) makes a point during  a stakeholder validation workshop on Wednesday.The proposed NBS (2108-2023) is envisaged to grow Kenya’s digital economy and boost the realization of the government’s Big 4 Agenda, through deployment of high-capacity broadband throughout the country.

Plans for a second National Broadband Strategy for Kenya are in top gear following a successful ICT stakeholders meeting on Wednesday in Nairobi.

The event was convened to validate views submitted on the proposed NBS (2018-2023) following the closure of the public consultation period.

The new plan builds on the successes and lessons from the implementation of the first strategy (2013-2018) that sought to transform Kenya into a knowledge-based society driven by high-capacity nationwide broadband connectivity.

However, while some aspects of it were implemented, some remained unattainable due to the rapid changes in technology and other emerging realities.

‘‘The successful implementation of the whole scope of the previous plan was hampered by limited infrastructure capacity, inadequate institutional framework, and absence of a comprehensive cyber security, privacy and data protection frameworks,’’ said Mr. Jerome Ochieng, Principal Secretary for ICT and Innovation.

The proposed strategy is envisaged to grow Kenya’s digital economy and boost the realization of the government’s Big 4 Agenda, through deployment of high-capacity broadband throughout the country.

‘‘It is only when we have a well- thought-out strategy that we can harness the societal and economic benefits that arise out of its implementation,’’ said Mr.Ochieng.

In the new strategy the government aims to increase access to broadband coverage of 3G to 94% of the population by 2020, increase digital literacy in schools to 85%, and expand broadband to the 47 counties and especially to have 50% digital literacy amongst the workforce.

With broadband seen as catalyst for socio-economic development, the new strategy is expected to provide direction for improving ICT connectivity and access in the country, including the deployment of 5G and other emerging technologies, says CA Director General Mr. Francis Wangusi.

Kenya has made tremendous strides in the deployment and uptake of data and broadband services in the recent years.

By September 2018, the total number of active Internet/data users stood at 42.2 million, while the number of broadband users stood at 20.9 million, representing a broadband penetration rate of 44.9 per cent.

Mr.Wangusi added that even through in past there have been interventions to spur uptake of broadband in the country, there is still need to review the existing strategies, in order to optimize of the full potential of broadband.

‘‘The Authority appreciates that the Government has in the past made efforts to put in place measures that will allow lower costs of such devices, including computers and mobile phone handsets,’’ said Mr.Wangusi.

The validation workshop also saw additional inputs from various stakeholders that will now form the finer document that will guide Kenya’s broadband agenda for the next five years.

A steering committee that has been spearheading the process draws membership from Ministry of Communications Information and Technology (MoICT), Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), the Vision 2030 delivery secretariat (VDS), National Communications Secretariat (NCS) and ICT Authority.

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