State seeks to fill Universal Service Fund board slots

The Government has started the search for new board members to sit on the Sh4 billion Universal Service Fund kitty following the lapse of tenure of the inaugural directors. 

This week, Public Service Commission declared a vacancy for the positions of chairperson and five board members to the Universal Service Advisory Council under the Communication Authority of Kenya. 

“Applications are invited from suitably qualified Kenyans wishing to be considered for nomination to the post of chairperson or member of the Universal Service Advisory Council,” stated the PSC in its notice. 

The USF was set up in 2013 to provide financing to establish telecommunications services infrastructure in areas that are underserved.

The fund draws its finances from contributions from telecommunication service providers who are required to remit 0.5 per cent of their gross annual turnover into the fund.

Phase one of the project, which saw Sh1.5 billion disbursed was, however, delayed for more than three years, and according to an evaluation report by the CA still remains incomplete. 

Last year, CA awarded Sh836 million to three firms - Liquid Telkom (Sh218 million), Xtranet Communication (Sh318 million) and Commcarrier Satellite Services (Sh299 million) - for broadband connectivity projects to 896 secondary schools across the country. 

“Phase 1 provided for project implementation within 12 months, however, due to requisite processes and challenges encountered, the project is yet to be fully completed 2 years down the road.”  

CA has begun Phase 2 of the project that is expected to cover 123 sites in 20 counties across the country with network infrastructure at Sh1.2 billion. 

The project works include provision of base stations, transmission links with telecommunication firms granted specific lots to service. 

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