County governments have been accused of slowing down the spread of internet in their areas due to the high fees they are imposing on broadband service providers seeking to widen their coverage networks.
This was said by Kenya’s ICT secretary Fred Matiang’i while speaking at the Kenya County ICT Summit that took place in Laikipia County, adding that he has initiated talks with county leaders to persuade them to support the ICT industry.
“Moving the fibre cable across the country has been a matter of concern. As national government we ask ourselves: what policy sacrifices do we have to make to ensure there is a connection in all counties?” said the Minister.
Matiang’i was referring to the high way leave fee that county governments are charging ISP laying fiber cables. The latest example involves Laikipa County government and Jamii Telcom Limited that saw the latter abandon a multi-million shilling project of laying fibre cable in the town, after the county government demanded Kshs600 for every meter of fiber the ISP lays.
This, the Minister said, is not acceptable adding that it the central government will not get involved in dictating to counties on what to do as there are clear laws and regulations to be followed by the county governments.
The minister said that they will embrace dialog saying: “We want to have a conversation with them and try to make them understand the benefits accrued from a supportive environment so that we can grow infrastructure. If we levy heavy fee we are going to affect the movement of infrastructure.”
This comes barely a month after the national government announced the initiation of the National Broadband Strategy that will see all counties in the East African nation have access to ICT services at an affordable rate.