The Government has launched Second Phase of the voice Infrastructure connectivity project under the Universal Service Fund (USF), a milestone project that will bridge the digital divide and enhance inclusivity in access to communications services in Akiriamet village, Masol Ward, West Pokot County.
ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs CS, Joe Mucheru, while launching the Airtel communication mast in a locality that has been grappling with the poor telephone network coverage, said the project will boost development in the area and help enhance inclusivity in access to communication services.
Speaking at Akiriamet village, Mucheru urged residents to take advantage of the enhanced mobile network and embrace ICT as an enabler for service delivery and for their socio-economic transformation.
‘‘This important initiative lends practical effects to the call for radical socio-economic transformation made by the Jubilee government in the actualization of the national development and transformation strategy towards the country’s Vision 2030.” said Mucheru.
He expressed confidence that the government will continue to develop policy and regulatory frameworks to support the development of broadband networks and services in the country.
‘‘My Ministry has been spearheading the development of a national terrestrial Optic Fibre network (NOFBI) to supplement the private sector in rolling out services to all parts of the country,’’ said Mucheru.
The CS pointed out that providing affordable internet without adequate applications that serve the needs of the citizenry will not achieve the desired targets.
The trend in technology changes needs to have in place the right calibre of trained ICT human resources with the capacity of churning out local content for the networks.
“As a Government, our intention is not only to lower the cost of services and increase affordability, but to also ensure access and availability of services to all Kenyans while at the same time ensuring the country remains competitive and attractive for ICT investment, noted the CS,” said Mucheru.
He also said to promote the development of relevant digital content, the Ministry has developed the studio Mashinani Project to enhance the availability of accessible recording studios and enhancement of self-employment opportunities for artists in the robust creative music industry.
Mucheru further challenged residents of West Pokot County to enhance the recordings of their rich culture including songs, drama and other activities in the studio developed for them by the government.
‘‘I am sure this will enhance the West Pokot community in recording its rich culture including songs, drama, and other activities for the wider audience in the country and the whole world. I believe with these projects the community shall be able to preserve their culture and Kenyan heritage,’’ he added.
On her part, Broadcasting and Telecommunication PS, Esther Koimett, said the project gives commendable progress towards the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Speaking at the same forum, Communication Authority of Kenya, Director-General, Ezra Chiloba, said West Pokot County was among those identified for connectivity in the Second Phase of the implementation under the Universal Service Fund.
He said the residents of Akiriamet, Kiwawa, Meshau, Lotokum, Kola,Ompolion, Kaptolomwo, Amaler, Emobasis, Kokwotorir, Marus, and Pkpogoh will now enjoy a host of services including mobile voice, data, internet and a bouquet of other value-added services including mobile money transfer services.
Chiloba said going forward the Authority targets to connect 101 Sub-locations across 19 Counties by June this year.
The County Governor, Prof. John Lonyangapuo, lauded the project, saying improved internet and phone connectivity in Masol Ward will help improve health, education and security for the residents who have been lagging behind in ICT development.
By Anthony Melly