Ndemo blasts ISPs

29 Sep 2009

The Kenyan government has given local ISPs one month to lower bandwidth prices or risk regulatory intervention from the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), ComputerWorld Kenya reports. Despite the launch of the SEACOM submarine cable system in July, ISPs have continued to maintain high prices, citing contractual agreements with satellite companies, meaning that the benefits of the fibre cable have not been passed on to the end-user. Bitange Ndemo, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Information and Communication, said: ‘The ISPs are being mischievous. The cost should be lower than KES600 (USD8.29) per megabyte; it should be closer to KES200. We have many options but it is always good to leave the competition to push the pricing down, but if it does not the regulator can step in.’ Some ISPs, such as Kenya Data Networks (KDN), have reduced prices, but have limited coverage. Others have offered to double the bandwidth for the same cost, which suits corporate clients but not the residential market. Ndemo said: ‘If few Kenyans could afford the bandwidth, who are you doubling for? For the economy to grow broadband has to be available to Kenyans.’