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Government urged to subsidise connection to fibre optic cable

By | September 11th 2009 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

By James Anyanzwa

Stakeholders have appealed to the Government to offer subsidies to Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

Footprint Computer Solutions Ltd, a local ICT company, says Internet use in the region has remained low due to exorbitant prices.

"The connectivity in the region has not been very good. Internet speed is still very low," says Ephraim Njoroge, the company’s head of ICT and operations.

The landing of the undersea fibre optic cables —TEAMS, SEACOM and EASSY— was expected drastically lower Internet rates and increase the number of Internet users to over 10 million in the next five years.

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But the development has sparked a debate on the right pricing.

While some operators insist that the fibre cables offer ISPs room to reduce prices, others argue that prices would only fall marginally.

Some operators argue that they cannot offer low prices citing huge initial costs. Njoroge says high Internet cost could hurt the country’s flight to becoming an ICT hub.

UUNET Kenya has completed the migration from satellite powered data solutions to the Seacom under-sea fibre optic cable, and doubled bandwidth capacity for its customers, but the firm remains non-committal on lowering its prices.

"We provide our customers double capacity at current price. But we will review our prices once TEAMS and EASSy come on board," says Tom Omariba, the firm’s managing director.

fibre optic cable Internet Service Providers ISPs TEAMS SEACOM EASSY
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