Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Director General Francis Wangusi told journalists in Nairobi that telecom operators shy away from providing the services in areas perceived to have low returns on investment.
“The government therefore needs to provide telecoms with incentives to roll out communication services in the remote areas,” Wangusi said during the launch of the Information Communication Technology (ICT) Access Gaps study.
The study will provide a scientific mechanism to determine areas that require deliberate interventions by government.
Wangusi said that the study will not only identify the missing links but also determine the requisite investment and subsidy levels to leverage operations in high cost areas.
According to Wangusi, the licensed operators have so far remitted contributions to the Universal Service Fund (USF), to the tune of 29 million U.S. dollars.
Wangusi said the fund is one of the strategies that Kenya will employ in order to ensure provision of affordable communication services in rural and other high cost areas, adding that USF levies will total between 68-100 million dollars over the next 10 years.
“In our view, it merely plays a complementary role of pushing service provision beyond the market force,” he added.
Universal Service Advisory Council (USAC) Chairperson Catherine Ngahu said that access to communication services is no longer a privilege but a basic human right for all.
Ngahu said that the USAC is committed to facilitating the achievement of national policy goals for universal access and service to unserved and under-served areas in the country.
“The Council firmly believes in sustainable ICT initiatives to improve the quality of lives of Kenyans by facilitating socio-economic development.
She said that Kenya has already developed a framework within which the Fund will be managed once it becomes operational. Enditem