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Internet connectivity enhances government services in Western region

Internet connectivity in Western Kenya region has tremendously improved in the past few years following implementation of the National Optic Fibre Backbone Infrastructure (NOFBI) phase one and two.

NOFBI, a national government project was initially implemented in Phases from 2012, with the first Phase, NOFBI 1 connecting 18 Counties.

Later NOFBI II that saw all the forty-seven Counties connected and now NOFBI IIE which is an Expansion of NOFBII that is connecting Sub-counties.

According to ICT Officer in-charge of Kisumu County Seif Ouma, Kisumu as a hub serves Counties of Vihiga, Kakamega, Homa Bay, Siaya and other neighboring counties.

He told KNA that at Nyanza Regional Building, 90% of departments are connected including both National Government and County Government Offices.

“Internet service is up and the intercom working well (IP Telephony),” he added.

Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital, Local Area Network that was completed under the Universal Health Coverage Project and NOFBI integrated to the LAN.

At the Kisumu International Airport, NOFBI is used as a secondary link to act as a redundant link in case the primary link goes down.

Other offices that have been connected include Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA), Kenya News Agency (KNA) offices, Immigration Department, Deputy County Commissioner’s offices at Kisumu Central, Kisumu East, Muhoroni, Nyando, Nyakach and Seme.

At the Kisumu West Sub-county offices, the fibre has been terminated at the National Government Constituency Offices (NG-CDF) since the DCC building stalled.

The ICT Officer said the Kisumu County Last Mile Connectivity Project has been implemented at the Nyanza Regional Building, the largest building in this region with three wings and each wing has thirteen floors except the middle wing with fifteen floors.

“The building is well connected to the internet and IP Telephony service,” he adds.

He said under the Digital Learning Programme (DLP) project, 614 out of 615 public Primary Schools received Digital Learning Devices.

In a partnership between the Ministry of ICT Innovation and Youth Affairs and the County Government of Kisumu 8,000 Youths were trained on online jobs at both Tom Mboya Labor College and University of Nairobi Kisumu branch.

Kisumu High Court is also a beneficiary of the internet connectivity and is implementing digitization of Court proceedings and part of the Ajira team that was trained are the ones implementing the ongoing digitization.

However, the problem of power outage has in the past affected seamless connectivity since Kisumu is a network hub for both Western and Nyanza Regions.

But once the high transmission power line from Olkaria to Lessos and then Kisumu is completed, the problem will be a thing of the past.

Ouma observes that there is high demand from other clients to be connected to NOFBI and little resources is available to cover a wide area and lack of ICT centres in Kisumu where young people can access digital devices and free internet for their online work.

By George Kaiga

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