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Friday, September 10, 2010

Kenya: Internet Still Too Expensive

In recent years, three major undersea fibre optic cables have landed in the country at a huge cost to investors, including the government.The advent of the cables has accorded Kenyan users higher data speeds through direct connections to other continents.
Disappointingly, though, this has not come with concomitant price cuts. When the government went to the extent of dabbling in both the East African Marines System (TEAMS) and the EASSy cables, it was generally understood this investment was meant to make Internet use cheaper.

Indeed, other operators with huge public stakes, namely, Telkom Kenya and Safaricom, also made credible investment in the much-hyped technology.

It was then generally accepted that a huge outsourcing industry would grow to compete with the Indian business outsourcing hubs.On Monday, Telkom Kenya CEO Mickael Ghossein attributed the high bandwidth prices to cable vandalism.

But as we experience huge cuts in voice rates, we expect the State to address, not only vandalism, but also possible collusion between players. This must be done for the sake of the economy.

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