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ICT Authority seeks Sh8bn for countrywide projects

mucheru-picDAILY NATION By LILIAN OCHIENG

Thursday January 21, 2016

The ICT Authority (ICTA) has fallen short of an estimated Sh8 billion to effectively run government’s ICT functions, Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has been told.

The Authority’s board chairman Edwin Yinda told the CS that they needed the funds urgently when Mr Mucheru toured the ICTA’s offices for the first time on Wednesday.

“There is however a need to increase funding for ICT projects, from the current paltry 0.3 per cent to 5 per cent of the total annual national budget,” said Mr Yinda.

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Communication Authority consulted media owners on broadcasting rules

wangusiDAILY NATION By Francis Wangusi

Wednesday January 20,2016

Our attention has been drawn to an article in the Daily Nation of January 18 under the headline ‘State should consult with stakeholders to make rules that support media industry’, which had inaccuracies regarding the recent publication of the Programme Code for Free to Air radio and TV broadcasting services by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA).

In his opinion piece, Dr Hannington Gaya — the Chairman of the Media Owners Association (MOA) — alleges that CA issued the programme code without first consulting stakeholders.

This allegation has no grain of truth as the authority subjected the code to public and stakeholders’ consultation from April 8 to May 7 last year.

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Telkom Kenya offers retrenchees Sh1.8bn to end court dispute

telkom2BUSINESS DAILY By OKUTTAH MARK

Tuesday January 19, 2016

Telkom Kenya has agreed to settle retrenchment dues at the centre of legal disputes with former employees that have been in court for nearly 10 years.

France Telecoms, the majority owner of the company, has agreed to pay the nearly 2,000 former employees Sh1.8 billion ahead of the planned sale of its 70 per cent stake to Helios Investment Partners.

Telkom Kenya management told the Business Daily that the amount was agreed in an out-of-court settlement and captures all the three cases in court.

The settlement brings to an end the legal battles between Telkom Kenya — 70 per cent owned by France Telecoms and 30 per cent owned by the Government of Kenya — and the former employees.

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Call centre services set up earns Kenya a place in top 50

Fibre-opticDAILY NATION By JAMES KARIUKI

Monday January 18, 2016

Kenya is the latest entrant in the top 50 countries recognised for call centre services driven by reliable Internet connection and a 7,000-strong labour force.

Global Services Location Index (GSLI) placed the country at position 39, with Tunisia at 38, Senegal (45) and South Africa (48).

The report said Kenya, a first time entrant in the ranking, had shown remarkable progress in Information, Communication and Technology development via establishment of reliable optic fibre cables to businesses within its cities as well as sponsored several innovation hubs where software applications are being invented.

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CA targets mobile phone fraudsters with cap on SIM card ownership

Wangusi3BUSSINESS DAILY By OKUTTAH MARK,

Wednesday, January 13  2016

Ownership of mobile phone SIM cards will soon be restricted to not more than 10 if new regulations governing possession of wireless telecoms lines come into force.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) yesterday said it was working on fresh rules that will limit individual subscribers to owning a maximum of 10 active SIM cards as part of the drive to curb mobile phone crimes.

“We are working on regulations that will outlaw the sale of more than 10 SIM cards to an individual because it is not possible for one person to efficiently use those many lines,” the CA director-general, Francis Wangusi, said, adding that the new regulations will not affect businesses or companies.

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Regulators clash over plan to censor Netflix online movies

DUOBUSINESS DAILY By OKUTTAH MARK and STELLAR MURUMBA

Tuesday, January 12  2016

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has differed with the Kenya Films and Classification Board (KFCB) over the handling of American online movie streaming service Netflix, which launched operations in Kenya last week.

The CA Monday said Netflix will not be asked to apply for a local broadcasting licence, meaning the US firm is exempt from local broadcasting regulations that are part of the licensing conditions.

The CA’s decision stood in stark contrast with KFCB’s position that Netflix must be regulated and subjected to Kenya film classifications before it is allowed to sell content locally.

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CS Joe Mucheru asked to appoint ICT Authority CEO

mucheru-picDAILY NATION By LILIAN OCHIENG

Friday January 08,2016

Information Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has been urged to appoint a chief executive to head the ICT Authority.

Stakeholders in the ICT sector said the appointment should be done to avoid stalling of projects managed by the authority.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Cabinet reshuffle last year created the vacancy after the then CEO Victor Kyalo was appointed principal secretary in the ICT ministry.

The authority handles the school laptops project, which is to be implemented beginning this year. It is also responsible for all government ICT functions.

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Sh17bn laptops tender bid to start on Friday

DNJKUATUhuru2703fDAILY NATION By ISAAC ONGIRI

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Information Communication and Technology (ICT) Authority will on Friday open tenders to kick-start the process of acquiring 983,271 laptops for Standard One learners under the Digital Literacy Program.

An elaborate plan, being worked on by the authority under the Ministry of ICT and seen by the Nation, reveals that the first batch of the devices is expected to be delivered to schools in July.

A total of Sh17 billion will be spent on the program that has stalled since 2013 due to a hitch in the procurement process then conducted by the Ministry of Education and won by Indian firm Olive Pvt that ended up in court, leading to a government decision to rework the plan.

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CA loses power to regulate dominant telcos

CAKBUSINESS DAILY By OKUTTAH MARK,

Tuesday, January 5   2016

Telecommunications sector regulator, the CA, has lost powers to independently monitor dominance and act against its abuse – leaving it with a narrow mandate of licensing new players and allocating frequencies.

Parliament stripped the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) of the mandate through the controversial Statute Miscellaneous Amendments Bill, 2015 that President Uhuru Kenyatta signed into law before Christmas.

Under the new legal regime, the CA will have to consult the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) before making a declaration of dominance and when assessing critical industry factors such as Significant Market Power before making a declaration of dominance.

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Bill Gates hails Kenya’s mobile banking in annual letter

BILLBUSINESS DAILY By DOREEN WAINAINAH

Monday January 4, 2015

American billionaire Bill Gates has picked out Kenya’s pioneering mobile banking industry as one of his top stories for 2015, shining international spotlight on the industry.

In his blog, GateNotes, the billionaire said the Kenyan mobile cash story was one of his favourite six for last year.

“As Melinda and I highlighted in this year’s annual letter, we believe that mobile banking is one of the best tools we’ve ever seen for helping people lift themselves out of poverty,” said Mr Gates.

The 2015 Gates Annual Letter has a chapter on how mobile banking can help poor people transform their lives.

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Insurance fraud to end as new motor vehicle data system is launched

SUNDAY NATION By JAMES KARIUKI

Sunday January 03, 2016

A planned “clearing house” for insurance companies could fast track settlement of claims and drastically reduce the cost of premiums.

Association of Kenya Insurance (AKI) believes this will also help in positively changing the attitude among Kenyans towards insurance products. The uptake of these products stands at a lowly 3 per cent.

The Integrated Motor Insurance Data System (IMIDS) fronted by AKI is expected to revolutionalise insurance business since the current “analogue” setup has been found to have encourage fraud through which non-existent vehicles get insurance cover which is used to lodge claims for feigned accidents.

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New Information CS promises quality services for citizens

Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) Cabinet Secretary Joseph Mucheru before the Parliamentary Committee on Appointment for vetting. FILE PHOTO | JAMES EKWAM | NATION MEDIA GROUPBusiness Daily By OKUTTAH MARK

Monday December 28, 2015

Joseph Mucheru, the techpreneur and former head of Google’s Kenya operations, is among the few people who clinched Cabinet positions during President Uhuru Kenyatta’s first reshuffle of the Cabinet last month.

He takes charge of the critical Information and Technology docket, which puts him directly in charge of the media, telecoms and technology industries.

Kenya continues to express the ambition of becoming East Africa’s technology hub. Kenya has also placed technology at the centre of its advancement and positioned it as the foundation on which it will anchor its economy.

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Education CS Matiang'i unveils digital content for pupils

DnLAPTOPs1204rdpxDAILY NATION By OUMA WANZALA

Wednesday December 16, 2015

Digital content development for standard one and two pupils has been launched by the education ministry.

It includes interactive animations, videos and audio, cartoons, puppets exercises and quizzes aimed at helping pupils learn.

Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i launched the content of mathematics, science, social studies, English and Kiswahili at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development in Nairobi on Tuesday. 

The content will improve learning and teaching, according to the institute.

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Thanks to ICT, government secrets get ever fewer

walubengoDAILY NATION  By JOHN WALUBENGO

Tuesday December 15, 2015

Have ICTs enhanced political participation, social accountability, public service delivery and citizen engagement in East Africa in the recent past?

These were the research questions behind a study commission by CIPESA, a regional think-tank focusing on ICTs in East and Central Africa.

In Kenya's case, the answers are found in its recently published ICTs in Governance report. Some, which make for interesting reading, are highlighted below.

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Airtel, Telkom win in 4G frequency spat with Safaricom

WangusiCAKBUSINESS DAILY By OKUTTAH MARK,

Monday December 14, 2015

Airtel and Telkom’s Kenya Orange are set to be allocated equal share of the preferred 800MHz frequencies for rolling out high speed Internet, a move expected to end claims that the regulator was favouring Safaricom in spectrum allocation.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) director general Francis Wangusi says the regulator will put a proposal to its board for equal allocation of the 800MHz frequency spectrum to the three mobile operators.

This, he said, follows a resolution arrived at the Geneva Radio World Conference that ended last week, where African countries agreed to allocate to mobile telecommunication firms additional frequencies freed-up after migration from analogue to digital TV broadcast. 

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TV broadcasters set to pay up to 62 per cent less for signals

CAKBUSINESS DAILY By OKUTTAH MARK

Tuesday December 08,2015

Television broadcasters will pay lower monthly fees if a UK consultant’s proposed new charges are adopted by the industry regulator.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) in May contracted UK firm Analysys Mason to review the signal distributor fees introduced in 2013 in the run-up to the migration from analogue to digital broadcasting.

On Monday, the UK firm said the proposed rates will apply up to 2018. Under the rates, broadcasters will pay Sh79,323 per megabit per month for signal distribution within Nairobi and its environs — down from the current Sh125,990 translating into a 37 per cent reduction.

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Six local varsities, four IT firms picked for school devices tender

DIGITDAILY NATION By OKUTTAH MARK,

Friday December 04,2015

Six leading local universities and four information technology firms have been shortlisted for the supply, installation and commissioning of the digital learning solution for the 22,000 public primary schools.

University of Nairobi, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenyatta, Moi, Strathmore and Dedan Kimathi universities are in the short-list alongside IT firms Symphony Technologies, Smoothtel and Data Solutions Ltd, Hewlett Packard and Lenovo.

Multimedia and Masinde Muliro universities, were the only higher learning institutions that failed to make the short-list, that also saw big names such as Oracle and Huawei fail to secure their place in the lucrative bid. The four were among 25 companies that had expressed their interest in the tender.

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Telkom seeks arbitration in Sh639m debt owed to Safaricom

OrangeTelcomDAILY NATION By ABIUD OCHIENG

Thursday December 03, 2015

Troubled Telkom Kenya wants the court to refer a dispute it has with Safaricom, over a Sh639 million debt, to an arbitrator.

“In as much as Safaricom is seeking to protect itself through interim orders, the contracts have arbitration clause and we seek to refer this dispute to an arbitrator or any other alternative dispute resolution mechanism,” said Telkom lawyer Gitonga Murugara.

Safaricom is seeking to restrain Telkom from finalising the sale and takeover of its shares held by the Orange Group until it is paid Sh639,790,163 arising from various agreements executed between the two parties.

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CA seeks system to weed out fake mobile phones

CAKBUSINESS DAILY By OKUTTAH MARK,

Monday November 30, 2015

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has started the process of switching off fake mobile phones by inviting suppliers of automated systems that can authenticate serial numbers of handsets.

A lack of equipment to identify fake mobile phones forced the CA to put on hold plans to switch off the devices whose number is estimated at more than 3.5 million.

Upon production, all genuine mobile phones are assigned a unique 15 digit International Mobile Equipment Identifier (IMEI) code which can be used to tell them apart from fakes.

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I hope new Cabinet secretary will try to repair damaged State-media relations

PresidentDAILY NATION By MUTUMA MATHIU

Friday November 27, 2015

I am looking forward to the appointment of Mr Joe Mucheru to the ICT Ministry in the hope that he will restore the broken relations between the Jubilee government and the press.

I have been fighting a solitary and perhaps losing battle against what I consider damaging policies pursued by this administration, which ultimately serve neither the country nor the government.

I am hoping that Mr Mucheru will delete those policies.

Top among those bad policies is the government’s decision to go into the advertising business.

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