ICT Authority (ICTA) has commenced the laying of a 630km fibre optic cable that is expected to deliver high speed internet to underserved areas in North Western Kenya.
ICT Authority Chief Executive Officer Dr. Katherine Getao says the new cable which runs from Eldoret Town to Nakodok in Turkana County will compliment the existing submarine cable that is currently being rehabilitated.
The 630km high speed fibre optic cable which is being funded jointly by the Government of Kenya and the World Bank under the East Africa Regional Transport, Trade and Development Facilitation Programme (EARTTDFP) will be crucial in delivering affordable internet access in the region.
“The East African Project will add to the current ICT infrastructure, which comprises of the undersea cables, fibre optic cable backbone, Local Area Networks, wireless networks and data centres,” said Dr. Getao.
The deployment of the fibre optic cable is also expected to ensure residents of North Western Kenya receive digitized government services among others, IFMIS, GHRIS, iTax and NTSA.
Under the National Optic Fibre Backbone Infrastructure (NOFBI) the government has laid 8,900Km of high speed internet submarine cable to all the 47 counties.
The project is part of ICTA’s ICT Master Plan which is the blueprint to be used in rolling out government ICT infrastructure and the reference to new deployments, upgrades or expansion of existing infrastructure.
“According to the Master Plan, the government of Kenya will provide an accessible, affordable, reliable, quality and secure ICT infrastructure in Kenya. This will be achieved through addressing the gaps that have been identified, including the arid and semi-arid regions such as Turkana County,” she affirmed.
The Northern Kenya fibre op[tic cable is backed to support economic activities in the region such as fishing, irrigation and animal resources.
The cable is further expected to boost trade and logistics in the region and facilitate cross-border trade with South Sudan.
Similarly, ICTA has partnered with four universities to design what is calls ‘fit for purpose’ Digital Learning Device that involves a multi-disciplinary team of over 20 ICT researchers, experts and innovators.
“The idea of designing the ‘fit for purpose’ digital service was informed by the need to augment the digital devices that have already been provided to learners in the public primary schools, under Digital Learning Programme and eventually have one that is designed for cost-effective use at home and in the community,” Dr. Getao stated.
Upon completion of the North Western Kenya fibre optic project, ICTA plans to connect 306 institutions which include 180 schools, 126 government institution and 86 other public facilities.