Home NEWS County News Gov’t to spend Ksh 300M to improve mobile network in Kitui County

Gov’t to spend Ksh 300M to improve mobile network in Kitui County

The Government is set to spend Ksh 300 million from the Universal Service Fund (USF) kitty to improve mobile network coverage in remote and insecurity-prone areas of Kitui County.

This has been disclosed by Principal Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communications and the Digital Economy Eric Kiraithe.

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Speaking during a courtesy call to Kitui county commissioner Jipchumba Rutto, Kiraithe reiterated that the Communication Authority of Kenya under the Ministry of ICT, is working in partnership with private mobile network service providers including Safaricom, to root out the poor mobile network connectivity menace by installing masts across all identified zones.

The majority of the zones already mapped out are in the eastern part of the county, including Makuka, Malawa, Malalani, Kimela and Katene among others. “The Ministry has already commissioned masts installation projects in the areas,” noted Mr Kiraithe who is leading a team from the ministry and partners, on a week-long inspection tour of the zones in the county.

Kiraithe also noted that alongside Kitui County, other 18 counties are also set to benefit during ongoing phase two’s countrywide mobile network coverage improvement projects, that is set to be completed in the next five years.

He regretted that amongst the 19 counties, some are experiencing banditry insecurity while others are due to remoteness, making it hard for Mobile network providers to reach especially rural areas of the counties.

“We set up this universal service fund kitty to support private mobile network providers and in Kitui county, several remote areas along the border of Kitui county, with its neighbours Tana River and Garissa counties, which are also banditry prone areas, have been earmarked to benefit from mobile connectivity in the ongoing 2021 Phase II of the voice infrastructure connectivity project, that will see the border residents enjoy the transformation brought about by mobile communications services,” Kiraithe said.

He further expressed concern that due to the remoteness of the areas and insecurity threat, some schools were unable to successfully integrate the Internet into learning through the Education Broadband Connectivity Project, thus denying pupils, students and teachers to enrol into e-learning education programs that make it easier for teachers to explain concepts.

To address the challenges, the PAS said the Authority is engaging communities to create awareness about the infrastructure and immense opportunities brought by services and most importantly, ownership and security of the infrastructure.

The Authority is working closely with the National Government Administration Officers and the County Governments in these engagements to ensure minimised challenges are witnessed and build on lessons learnt from the previous project.

Kitui County Commissioner, Rutto, commended the Communications Authority’s efforts in enhancing communication services and assured of his office’s support and cooperation with the Authority to provide security to ensure no vandalism of communication infrastructures once installed in the areas.

The county commissioner, also the chairman of the county security committee, underscored that enhancing communication in the areas will also help fight insecurity in the remote and insecurity-prone areas.

He appealed to the border communities at the respective project areas to cooperate and work jointly with security agents at the community levels to protect the communication connections infrastructures to demonstrate their ownership of the communication infrastructures.

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