Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa has asked for the government’s support to classify telecommunications infrastructure as critical infrastructure. This comes in the wake of increased cases of vandalism that have been reported across the country.
Speaking during the launch of Kenya’s first device assembly plant, the CEO noted that the industry has collectively invested in modern infrastructure that is widespread across the country.
‘’To support your government’s target of laying 100,00 kilometres of fibre optic cable across the country, we seek your support in classifying telecommunications infrastructure as a critical infrastructure. ‘’ he said.
‘’This will enable more investment to accelerate the roll out of fibre cable across the country,’’ he added.
The request by Safaricom CEO comes at a time when the Information, Communications, and Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary (CS) Eliud Owalo is pushing for the enactment of the critical infrastructure bill to safeguard ICT systems and networks across the country.
The bill, which has been in the pipeline since 2015, seeks to protect critical infrastructure against threats such as terrorism, espionage and sabotage. It proposes hefty fines and jail terms for up to 10 years for people caught sabotaging infrastructure that is critical to national security. This infrastructure includes power lines, fibre optic cables, roads and data centres.
The CS in a previous interview with Kenya News Agency said the government has spent billions of shillings to lay the ICT infrastructure, adding that with the ongoing last-mile connectivity, focusing on the protection of the assets is necessary 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,” he said.
In July this year, two suspects were arrested for vandalizing overhead Safaricom fibre cables running along Kenya Power lines. The suspects were arrested within Naivasha and Gilgil areas.
The vandalism of Fibre Cables across the country has been among the leading causes of frequent Internet and voice outages in select areas.