The African Union has urged the Kenya government to reduce the cost of the Internet by cutting that of spectrum.

Ms Souhila Amazouz, senior policy officer for radio communications at the union, said the cost of acquiring rights to transmit is still very high in the country and parts of the continent.

This has hampered faster and proper connectivity.

“Countries within the continent must lower Internet costs; demand for spectrum is increasing with time and regulation also becomes an issue,” Ms Amazouz said during the 10th African spectrum management workshop in Nairobi Wednesday.

The meeting attracted telecom regulators from Kenya, Burundi, Nigeria, Ethiopia, South Africa and Tanzania.

Communications Authority of Kenya Director-General Francis Wangusi said there were challenges in implementation of high-speed spectrum because of associated costs.

Low spectrum charges translate to more affordable Internet for the end user, which in turn reduces the cost of doing business within the continent.

Kenya and Rwanda are the only countries in the region that have acquired and launched fourth generation spectrum.

Ms Amazouz urged Kenya to work with African countries in harmonising spectrum policies in the continent.

This will increase interaction and attract foreign investors.

The rest of the countries need to be at the same level to ease harmonisation.

Each telco in Kenya is currently looking to get 4G spectrum, with a view to offering value-added services at faster speeds. Safaricom obtained it and has piloted the technology in Mombasa and Nairobi.

“We policy makers are keen to know how future spectrum needs for smart energy grids, smart meters, intelligent transport systems and the Internet can be addressed,” said ICT Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i during the workshop.

Microsoft last year attempted to introduce low-cost Internet in Nanyuki and Laikipia using white space (unutilised wireless spectrum in TV frequency). CA, however, said though the technology is low cost, it is not widely accepted and is still under trial.



Thursaday June 4, 2015

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