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Hands off comms infrastructure warns Kenya's CA

Hands off comms infrastructure warns Kenya's CA

The latest case of vandalism of communication infrastructure in Kenya has the country's Communication Authority (CA) extremely concerned.

Protesters reacting to the 20 November Supreme Court election ruling are believed to have destroyed a Safaricom mast in Kisumu County.

"Vandalism of mobile telecommunication masts and other forms of infrastructure has also been noted in some parts of the country, particularly in Kisumu County in the aftermath of the just concluded electioneering period," said Francis Wangusi, Director General at CA.

"This worrying and dangerous trend has caused network and service outages in the affected areas thus putting the lives of Kenyan at risk, given the significant role that telecommunications services play in the provision of emergency response and other basic critical services. This malicious destruction of ICT infrastructure also threatens to erode the massive investments and other gains that have been made in the sector," he added.

Wangusi reminded the country that 17 years ago only 15,000 Kenyans were able to access mobile telecommunication services and now over 40 million Kenyans have access to telecommunication services.

The country currently has 94.4% 2G coverage and 78% 3G coverage.

"As we celebrate these milestones we must remember that 164 sub-locations out of the 7,149 in the country have 0% mobile network coverage, while 348 sub-locations have less than 30% mobile network coverage," he added.

The Director General said that the universal service fund (USF) is being used to facilitate shared infrastructure between the telecom service providers, and that the infrastructure destroyed does not necessarily belong to one telecom company.

Wangusi said that vandalism only drives back the gains made by the telecommunication sector and wastes billions in infrastructure for investors.

The telecommunication sector has been at the centre of attention within the unfolding political situation in Kenya because of its role in helping to transmit results.

The Kenyan opposition has been on the frontline to call for boycott of Safaricom products which they allege was part of the 'subversion' of elections during the 8 August poll.

The CA has officially warned the opposition of instituting economic boycott on telecommunication companies.

According to the Authority there have been other cases of vandalism that it claims are linked to terrorist attacks mostly in the North of the country.

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