Kenya will boast of five digital villages by the end of the year, as part of an ambitious plan by government to boost connectivity in the country.
Kenya’s telecom operators, Safaricom, Telkom Kenya, Zain Kenya and Essar telecoms, have been tasked with implementing the digital villages plan. In accordance with the Kenya Communication Amendment Act 2009, the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) will impose a levy of 1% of the operators’ total revenue for the project rollout, this according to Business Daily.
As a result, the operators will implement the project themselves in consultation with the regulator.
“For the last three years we have been talking about rolling out digital villages in the country but it has not picked up due to delays in financing that we were to get from the World Bank. However we have now asked the telecommunication operators to roll them out as a way of meeting the universal access Fund obligation”, said Bitange Ndemo, information permanent secretary at CCK.
So far, Safaricom has established 500 digital centres using 3G for faster Internet connectivity, while Telkom Kenya is working on rolling out 3G and mobile wireless technology CDMA.
According to government’s requirements, operators have to extend data services in rural areas and build centers for the delivery of e-government services. Kenya Data Networks (KDN) and Popote wireless have been confirmed as project managers.
The investment, valued at $200,000 for the Nairobi-based control centre and around $10,000 per site, comprises installation of transmission dishes, tower constructions and connectivity.
All digital centers will have Internet access, scanners and between 10 to 20 computers. KDN wil also set up smaller digital Kiosks, running up to 5 computers at a divisional level.