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Kenya: How Far With the National Broadband Strategy?
Source: CIO East Africa (Nairobi)
Source Date: Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Country: Kenya
Created: Sep 12, 2013

On 23rd July 2013, the Kenyan Government launched the Broadband Strategy which is aimed at transforming Kenya into a knowledge based economy.

According to the Broadband Strategy document This Broadband Strategy is critical to the achievement of Vision 2030 that seeks to provide Kenyan citizens with a lifestyle that is equivalent to the experience that a newly industrialized country provides. Kenya's Vision 2030 recognizes the enabling role of ICTs and anchors some of its key aspirations upon the availability and adoption of broadband technologies.

Having earned its own definition in the Kenyan Perspective in regards to Vision 2030, the new Constitution and technical parameters that are easily measurable. Broadband is defined as connectivity that is always on and that delivers a minimum of 5mbps to homes and businesses for high speed access to voice, data, video and applications for development.

In an event held on 10th September 2013 by Ericson at Sarova Stanley Hotel in Nairobi, Madam Susan Nyamoita Mochache Wekesa, Chairperson Broadband Strategy steering committee said that in Kenya we have over one million broadband users and that even with the initiative we will be able to face disparity in terms of speed as in urban dwellers will be able to access the wireless connection at a speed of 40MB/sec and those in rural areas will experience a speed of 5MB/sec. "

The committee will come up with a broadband policy in one to two years. There are also activities that are underway to have more wired networks where we have already connected 34 counties and the remaining 13 counties will be connected by 2015.The school led project initiative to introduce usage of laptop to students will help broaden up the broadband strategy," added Mochache.

The broadband strategy was also viewed as an ecosystem based on key five pillars which included Infrastructure, connectivity and devices, content applications and innovations, capacity building and awareness, policy, legal and regulatory environment and financing and investment.

So, how far has the country gone, in regards to the five pillars and what are the short term expectations of this strategy? The government is driving the e-government agenda very seriously through digitizing the local government registries championed by the ICT authority. The recent development that has been responded to the national broadband strategy is the more coordinated way that we could see the ICT agenda being driven by the government so that government has now linked some three key parastatals who were driving various activities into one agency and this will be responsible with dealing with issues of connectivity within the country.

In terms of application the committee is out to nature a more coordinated and coherent ecosystem that will help innovation .Discussions will be initiated in various universities to development of incubators within public institutions across the country. These discussions are also being held with county governments so that they can work with the local universities within their jurisdiction to see that ICT is a key agenda within these local institutions.

Under the capacity building, the ministry of planning is caring out an activity that is motivated by the constitution initiatives going on to establish ICT centers which are being branded as 'Huduma Centres' in all wards. At the moment the initiative is led by the government working closely with the local governments. Such initiatives, once implemented will bear fruits if only they will be properly supported and if there is connectivity across the country.

Under policy, legal and regulatory environment, the strategy is out to come up with a policy in a year's or two time and also they are out to develop a policy spectrum whose main objective will be to provide comprehensive spectrum plan and timely information of availability and allocation of mechanism and also to provide a transparent framework where each investor can interact with and is able to know where Kenya as a country is heading to in a few years, the spectrum policy will be renewable In five years.

Even with everything seemingly falling into place in regards to the broadband strategy, the issue of sensitization and awareness is still a big challenge Promoting the ICT agenda also is quite a hard task.However, there is an assurance that there will be a lot of awareness to the public at large so as to make the country more digital in regards to vision 2030

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