The ICT Authority (ICTA) is unable to take over the running of a Ksh16 billion fibre network run by Telkom Kenya due to lack of a maintenance budget, it has emerged.
According to ICTA CEO Katherine Getao, the Treasury is yet to allocate funds for the National Optic Fibre Backbone (Nofbi) Phase 1, which is run by Telkom without a licence.
“We are currently collecting levies from telcos that use Nofbi Phase 2 but we have not been able to obtain management contract for Phase 1 which is being operated by Telkom Kenya. We need money to enable us to take over and operate Nofbi 1 from Telkom,” Ms Getao told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
The ICT Ministry has been paying Telkom Kenya Ksh20.3 million every month since February 2010 for operations and management services for Nofbi.
Despite the contract expiring in 2016 and having not been renewed, Telkom still runs the infrastructure without a proper legal confinement.
Nofbi facilitates telecommunications connectivity in all the 47 counties, but the government does not pay for the use of the infrastructure.
Currently, Telkom Kenya has no permit to collect revenue from users of the Nofbi as required by law, which renders the infrastructure non-profitable.
Telkom is 60 per cent owned by Helios Investment Partners, with the remaining stake held by Kenyans through the Government of Kenya.