In what is probably an indication that
the government will regulate
Internet prices, the Communications
Commission of Kenya (CCK) has
said that the ongoing call charges
study will also contain
guidelines on connectivity charges.
CCK Director General Charles Njoroge
told reporters on Tuesday that
as much as the government would
want market forces to determine
the Internet charges, the bandwidth costs
are still out of reach for many Kenyans.
"We believe Internet costs are not
coming down as fast as possible and
we will be very keen to follow and
ensure that it is accessible and
the pricing in the market is right,"
However he made it clear that this
was being implemented as a last resort.
"We would not like to do price control.
However if there are issues of prices
that are not right, there are
always interventions," he added.
Information Permanent Secretary
Dr Bitange Ndemo kicked off
the debate in September when
he issued an ultimatum to the
Internet Service Providers to bring down
the prices in 30 days failure to which
the CCK would be forced
to regulate the charges.
The threat raised a hue and cry from
the operators who argued that
they were unable to cut the prices
abruptly as many were still relying
on the expensive satellite
capacity for back up.
However earlier this month,
Dr Ndemo expressed satisfaction
with the current connectivity prices
saying they had reduced to
at least Sh15,000 per megabyte.
"I must say that I'm happy.
The market forces are forcing
them down so I'm not very disappointed...
I'm just happy that my dreams
were realised within the period
that I promised," he had told
Capital Business and further
expressed optimism that
the prices would come down further.
The guidelines from a study which
was commissioned to review
the interconnection calls charges
are expected to be implemented
in March 2010 and it remains
to be seen whether the government
will follow through and enforce them.
Despite the Internet price standoff
however, the PS said he expected
Internet penetration in the country
to rise bolstered by
the operationalisation of
the fibre optic cables that have
more than 2.48 Terabits per second.
At a CCK Stakeholders Consultative
Forum on ICT regulation, Dr Ndemo
said the broadband capacity was
huge and able to accommodate
much more traffic.
"Internet usage is bound to rise
above the current 3.6 million as
Kenyans enjoy better speeds and
higher data traffic," he said through
the ministry' Deputy Secretary of
Administration Henry Mung'asia.
He however acknowledged that this
development would bring with it
challenges such as cyber security due
to the transformation of media
and content landscape.
The PS however assured that they
were seeking proposals on how
to improve regulations contained
in the Kenya Communications
(Amendment) Act of 2009 to address
such issues and ensure that
the sector, which contributed about
Sh12billion to the GDP, continues
to make positive contribution
to the growth of the economy.
The Act is expected to be enacted
in January 2010 with the aim of
helping to leapfrog the country
into the digital era.Link here
Sent from Kigali, Rwanda