The Communications Authority of Kenya has connected 14 sub-locations to mobile network services in West Pokot County. This is as it seeks to avail communications services to 101 areas across the country under the Universal Service Fund (USF) to the tune of KES 1.1 billion.
The Authority today formally launched the second phase of the USF Voice Infrastructure Connectivity project at Akiriamet, one of the beneficiary sub locations in West Pokot County. Other are Kases, Kiwawa, Meshau, Lotokum, Kola, Ompolion, Kaptolomwo, Kachawa, Amaler, Emboasis, Kokwoptorir, Marus, and Pkpogoh.
The 14 sub-locations were among those identified for connectivity in the second phase of the implementation of the USF, a special fund created to avail communications services in in various parts of the country, especially in areas which are mostly remote and hard- to-reach.
CA targets to connect 101 sub locations across 19 Counties by June this year, opening up hitherto unconnected areas to a new world of opportunities. The connection of the 14 sub locations now brings the total sub-locations connected in West Pokot County to 17 after three others, namely, Apuke, Lopet, and Chepserum benefitted in the first phase.
However, the connection of the sub locations to mobile network services is not the only work the Authority has done in the County. Under the first phase, it connected seven (7) public secondary schools to high speed Internet in the area out of the 884 connected across the country. The schools are St. Elizabeth Girls Morpus, St. Theresa’s Tartar Girls, Kapenguria Boys, St. Cecilia Chepareria, St. Comboni Amakuriat, Nasokol Girls, and the Holy Cross Boys Secondary School.
Ezra Chiloba, the CA Director General, had this to say, ‘‘This project will facilitate residents of the beneficiary sub-locations to enjoy a host of services, including mobile voice, data, Internet, and a bouquet of other value-added services, including mobile money transfer services. ‘Residents of Akiriamet will no longer have to climb trees to look for a mobile network signal again, because of what we have done here. They can spend that time scouting for market opportunities for their livestock, connecting with their people in the four corners of the world.’’
The Authority indicated that they had faced various challenges in the implementation of the projects, including community resistance and vandalism of the infrastructure in some parts of the country. They are now in the planning stages of the third phase of the project, which will target 68 sub locations across the country, seven (7) of which as in West Pokot County.
The USF was established in 2009 to facilitate the widespread availability of communications services in various parts of the country.