The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) has listed at least 202 sub-locations in rural zones that will remain disconnected from high speed internet due to security challenges.
Insecurity, aviation related restrictions and the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic are just, but a few challenges the State has cited
The zones were to be upgraded from 2G network, which does not support internet services, under a government fund that seeks to accelerate the provision of ICT services in areas that operators consider unviable.
Telecom firms contribute a share of their income to a kitty dubbed the Universal Service Fund (USF), which is used to upgrade services
Ms Mercy Wanjua, the acting Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) director-general told Parliament that construction works in 11 areas was stopped due to security concerns.
“Contractors have suspended works in Garissa, Mandera, Samburu, Marsabit and West Pokot among other areas because security concerns. The KDF has continued to insist that no communications can be mounted in the areas.” MS Wanjau said.
CA’s Director general also added that contractors had also reported reistance from communities.
“Priority has been given to areas experiencing rampant insecurity incidents mainly in the 101 sub-locations in seven counties of Tana River, Wajir, Turkana, Marsabit, Meru, Lakipia and Isiolo among others. Consideration for sub-location with less than 30 percent geographical network coverage and not scheduled for coverage through licence network rollout obligations by the operators by 2022 has been given,” Ms Wanjau said.
Last year, residents in the affected areas blamed KDF for cutting off their only way of being and feeling connected to the other world from a visibly war-torn zones.
Since last night people in #Kenya–#Somalia border have not been able to make calls, pay for goods with EVC, access internet because #KDF bizarrely shut down and destroyed comms masts!! This has affected us also in #Kismayo, with very weak internet, phone reception…This is mad!!
— Fatuma (@Fatumaabdulahi) March 27, 2019
While the priority has been given to sub-locations with a population of 1,000 people, Ms Wanjau said the outstanding balances of the Universal Service Funds as at June 30 stood at Sh10.6 billion.