The Kenyan government, through the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology has renewed its ongoing agreement with Orange Kenya to manage the National Optic Fibre Backbone
Infrastructure (NOFBI). Renewed in March 2013, the agreement, extends validity for a continuing period of three years.
NOFBI, a joint initiative between the Directorate of eGovernment, Orange Kenya and Soulco, a Belgian communications firm that specialises in the delivery of last mile solutions, connects 29 counties under the
County Connectivity project.
Besides providing the local population with faster internet services, the project will also facilitate implementation of e-government initiatives such as e-health, e-banking, e-farming and e-learning. The
Kenya Education Network (KENET), for instance, uses NOFBI to connect major universities in the country. Currently, four operators, including Orange Kenya are using more than 3,000 km of the network, out of a total 4,500 km.
In addition, “Telkom Kenya has seven field teams comprising 21 engineers in different locations who provide round-the-clock maintenance. A shift team based at Telkom Kenya’s Supervisory Management
Centre (SMC) in Westlands monitors all the equipment and cable cuts round-the-clock collaborating with the field team for repairs”, said Orange Kenya CEO Mickael Ghossein, adding that NOFBI experiences an
average estimate of 40 cable cuts in a month occasioned by vandalism, road construction and routine maintenance issues.
The Chinese government has extended a concessional loan of KSh. 6.12bn for the project, whose tender has been awarded to Huawei, the Chinese state-owned networking and telecommunications and services
provider. The pilot project initially covers 11 counties. NOFBI is part of the government’s ICT-related projects aimed at enhancing its service delivery to citizens, cutting operational costs and fighting corruption. Among the departments that have adopted this strategy are Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), the Judiciary and the Ministry of Immigration and Registration of Persons.
Source:CIO East Africa (Nairobi)