Safaricom seeks govt support to safeguard telecom infrastructure
Safaricom, Kenyan telco, has approached the government for help in classifying telecommunications equipment as critical infrastructure. This comes in the wake of an uptick in vandalism recorded around the country.
Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa highlighted during the unveiling of Kenya's first device assembly plant that the sector has collectively invested in modern infrastructure that is prevalent across the country.
Vandalism to fibre cables has been one of the primary reasons of frequent Internet and telephony disruptions in some locations around the country.
''We seek your help in categorising telecommunications infrastructure as vital infrastructure to support your government's aim of building 100.00 km of fibre optic cable across the country,'' he said.
''This will allow for further investment to speed up the roll-out of fibre cable across the country,'' he added.
The Safaricom CEO's proposal comes at a time when Kenya's Information, Communications, and Digital Economy Minister Eliud Owalo is pressing for the passage of a critical infrastructure bill to protect the country's ICT systems and networks.
The bill, which has been in the works since 2015, aims to defend critical infrastructure from threats like terrorism, espionage, and sabotage.
It recommends severe penalties and prison sentences of up to ten years for anybody caught destroying essential infrastructure. Power lines, fibre optic cables, highways, and data centres are all part of this infrastructure.
In an earlier interview with Kenya News Agency, Owalo stated that the government has invested billions of shillings to build ICT infrastructure, adding that with ongoing last-mile connectivity, emphasis on asset protection is critical for the benefit of all Kenyans.
" The current happenings and vandalism on critical infrastructure, including but not limited to power lines, substations, off-grid generation stations, repeater stations, data centres, roads and related infrastructure, information, communications and technology sector installations, security facilities and oil pipeline infrastructure call for scaling up of efforts and goodwill towards passing the pending Bill into law,” the minister said.