RealTime IT News

Kenyan National Telecoms Company Eyes Internet Business

[Nairobi, 26 June 2000] - The national telecoms provider for Kenya, Telkom Kenya Ltd revealed last week that it intends to enter the Internet Service Provider business in the region, much to the dismay of Kenyan Parliamentary members. Telkom Kenya recently had their three year telecoms monopoly in the region extended by an additional two years.

Telkom's intention to enter the ISP market was revealed in the Kenyan Parliament by Information Transport and Communications Assistant Minister Mathias Keah in response to a question by Rangwe MP Shem Ochuodho.

The Minister confirmed that an application had been made to the Communications Commission of Kenya by Telkom Kenya Ltd requesting permission to enter the Internet services market. "The commission has received representation from other ISP operators and I do not want to pre-empt their decision now," Keah commented.

Parliamentary members responded strongly to the Minister's confirmation of Telkom's application. Kimilili MP Mukhisa Kituyu for the Ford-K party suggested that the telephony monopoly will give Telkom Kenya an unreasonably strong platform for the development of Internet services. He cautioned that the company will be in a position to effectively dominate and control Internet services in the country should the application be approved.

National Development Party leader Raila Odinga warned too that the five year monopoly will undermine the spirit of liberalization in the country. In response to this, Assistant Minister Keah responded that the extension of the monopoly was decided upon in order to provide the telecoms provider with greater financial stability while in the transition phase of its operations.