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Citizens urged to protect critical ICT infrastructure

The public have been urged to protect critical ICT infrastructure in their environment against cases of vandalism.

The ICT Authority has warned members of the public against vandalizing the underground fibre optic network connected to all county headquarters and essential public and private institutions.

ICT Authority Board of Directors Chairman Prof. Fredrick Owino says the public as consumers have a major role to play in complimenting efforts being put in place to ensure the effective protection of critical infrastructure for posterity.

“Protecting telecommunications and fibre optic cable networks and other vital installations from vandalism is an important step to sustain and improve the quality-of-service delivery by the service providers,” said Prof. Owino.

He said theft of equipment and vandalism of fibre optic cable networks and other telecommunication facilities, is costing the country hundreds of millions of shillings each year.

Fibre optic cable contains strands of glass fibre inside an insulated casing and is designed to provide higher bandwidth and transmit signals over longer distances and supports most of the world’s internet, cable television and telephone systems.

The cables are delicate and any damage can affect thousands of end users, including mobile operators, banks, government offices, businesses and individuals.

This also results in huge maintenance costs and significant loss of productivity for the telecommunication companies and internet service providers.

The ICT Authority Board Chairman solicited the support and cooperation of the General Public to report any act of vandalism they are aware of to the relevant authorities.

He said there are growing concerns among operators that wanton vandalism of network equipment is further impacting negatively on their ability to deliver top-notch services to the growing subscriber base in the country.

Prof. Owino spoke in Ukunda Township, Kwale County, while distributing food stuffs to residents at the Ukunda Agricultural Showground.

The assorted food items were bought by staff of the ICT Authority who attended the just concluded four-day ICT ‘Connected summit 2022’ at Leisure Lodge Resort.

He said the Easter and Ramadhan gift pack (food stuff) to the local community was an annual ritual of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) that takes many forms each year.

The high-level connected summit is an annual exhibition and forum for government officials, and policy makers, the captains of industry, ICT practitioners and experts to explore challenges, partnerships and solutions and to identify investment opportunities and best practices for socio-economic development through ICT.

The summit was officially opened by ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru, accompanied by Chief Administrative Secretary, Maureen Mbaka, Principal Secretaries, Jerome Ochieng (ICT and Innovations) and Ester Koimett (Broadcasting and Telecommunications).

Prof. Owino who was accompanied by Board Members and ICT Authority Ag Director-General, Dr. Kipronoh Ronoh, noted the forum showcases what we can do in terms of new technologies as a country and by extension tells the world that Kenya is open to investments.

Addressing the audience at the food distribution site, Prof. Owino decried the problem of vandalism caused to ICT infrastructure, which often results in poor quality of service delivery to the end-users.

“One of the major challenges to quality of service that operators provide to consumers is vandalism of critical infrastructure,” he said during the impromptu sensitization campaign to the community.

He said others are theft and hostility from some host communities, which have continued to pose a major setback to the ICT and telecommunication

Prof. Owino said it is imperative for the public to regard telecom, ICT and internet facilities as collectively-owned infrastructure that are crucial and essential for the provision of efficient and acceptable services.

He urged the residents to ensure that they protect ICT facilities in their localities and urged them to always alert the security agencies and relevant authorities once they suspect acts of vandalism as it has implications for quality-of-service delivery in the communities.

Others present included Communications Authority of Kenya CEO Ezra Chiloba and his Telkom Kenya counterpart among other dignitaries

By Hussein Abdullahi

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