CA seeks Sh111bn for broadband deployment
The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) is seeking Sh111 billion for the roll-out of broadband infrastructure in the country.
According to the telecommunications industry regulator’s National Broadband Policy (NBS), the funds would facilitate the universal roll-out of high-speed fixed broadband which it says should now be treated as a critical resource. “The proposed budget for the NBS is estimated at Sh111 billion (1.5 per cent of the GDP for the financial year 2017/18) spread over five years,” said CA in the document released last week.
“This translates to only 0.3 per cent of the GDP being spent on broadband each year which is commensurate with the contribution of the sector to the GDP per year.” The regulator said the funding would be sourced from the National Government, the Universal Service Fund (USF) and private investment through private-public partnerships.
The regulator has also suggested opening up access to the government-funded National Fibre Optic Infrastructure to third parties like internet service providers in rural areas seeking to broaden reach. “There is an emerging regulatory consensus that there should be open access to national broadband infrastructure,” said CA.
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“Open access will especially be mandated where broadband and next-generation access roll-out is supported by public funding. In such circumstances, mandated open access will promote network investment, prevent the uneconomic duplication of facilities and strengthen competition.”
CA also recommends reviewing the laws touching on the broadband industry, including enforcing infrastructure sharing as well as introducing new guidelines for the assigning of a spectrum.
This will be done through expediting frequency re-farming that will free up the limited resource for deployment of mobile broadband.