According to an agreement signed today between the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the US Government shall assist CCK in developing strategies to stimulate universal access to ICT services in underserved and un-served areas of the country.
The technical assistance covers the development of a national broadband strategy to underpin the deployment of modern broadband infrastructure to meet the needs of businesses, government and the entire economy. The assistance, which shall be provided through the USAID’s Global Broadband and Innovations (GBI) initiative, will also assist CCK in developing capacity in universal service Fund management, and universal service.
Addressing the media during the signing of the agreement at the CCK Centre, USAID’s Mission Director, Ms. Erna Kerst, said the US Government was happy to partner with Kenya in facilitating enhanced access to ICT services.
She said Kenya was ahead of many sub-Saharan African countries in the level of development of ICTs, particularly in the area of mobile applications.
“Kenya is leading the way in ICT innovations and in the development of applications that are changing the lives of people in Kenya and elsewhere in the World,” she said.
In his address, Ag. CCK Director-General Mr. Francis W. Wangusi said the development of universal access and broadband strategies would invigorate the growth of the ICT sector and thus accelerate the development of other sectors of the economy, including provision of e- and m- government services.
Citing the ICT Access Gaps Study undertaken by CCK last year, Mr. Wangusi said close to 1,120 sub-locations out of the total of 7,149 in the country had no access to basic communication services. This situation, he added, called for urgent regulatory interventions to facilitate the transition of a sizeable number of Kenyans to the digital age.
The Director-General decried the prevailing low penetration of data/internet services in Kenya, saying the country had only 5.2 million Internet subscribers, of which 2.33% were broadband. He said the strategies to be developed through USAID’s technical assistance would play a key role in improving access to communications services in all parts of the country.