The State has launched the construction of the 630-kilometre high-speed fibre optic cable that will ease communication in remote areas as well as open up the northern frontier region.
The Sh3 billion project is funded by the government and the World Bank. The linking of more areas to the fibre optic projects comes at a time there is mad rush to boost services in Turkana and surrounding areas owing to the discovery of oil among other resources.
It will also lower internet costs in the region. The Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology, through the ICT Authority, which launched the project last week, also commissioned the rehabilitated Eldoret to Nakodok fibre optic cable.
ICT Authority Chief Executive Katherine Getao said the agency has completed the rehabilitation of fibre optic cable from Eldoret town and extended a wireless solution to Nadapal border post.
Speaking during the commissioning of part of the South Sudan-Eastern Africa Regional Transport, Trade and Development Facilitation Programme (EARTTDFP) project in Nadapal, Dr Getao said the internet connectivity with speeds of 100 gigabytes per second (GB/s) would be used by the towns and facilities along the fibre cable corridor.
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They include hospitals, government offices, schools and telecommunication operators.
“This section of the project will provide connectivity between Northern Rift part of Kenya to the counties of Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, Turkana and West Pokot,” she said.
The two projects are part of the Sh54 billion ($500 million) South Sudan-Eastern Africa Regional Transport, Trade and Development Facilitation Programme that connects Kenya and South Sudan through the laying of a fibre-optic cable and construction of a superhighway.
The project has increased internet connectivity to the local communities and enabled high-speed internet access to key government institutions, schools and provided numerous employment opportunities to the youth, especially during the construction phase.
Turkana County Governor Josephat Nanok said the project would benefit communities, government entities and business operating in his county as well as promote cross-border trade with South Sudan communities.
“Towns such as Eldoret, Kitale, Lodwar, Kakuma, Lokichar and Lokichogio will greatly benefit from the new fibre optic cable in line with the Ministry’s long-term plans to transform lives through smart ICT infrastructure and bridging the digital divide,” he said.
Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, in a speech read by Chief Engineer, Roads James Kungu, said the project would be completed in December 2021.
Besides the fibre optic cable, the World Bank will finance the construction of 338km road from Lokichar to the border and Kainuk Bridge, which is at the border of Turkana and West Pokot counties.
ICT Authority Chairman Fredrick Owino said the development would see a huge information highway from the heart of Kenya to the border with South Sudan.
World Bank representative James Theuri said the rehabilitation of the fibre optic was complete and that ICT services had been restored in the four counties.