Cost of Internet to Go Down in EAC Bloc

Mombasa – The cost of Internet in the region is expected to go down after Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda agreed to harmonise taxes constituting data prices.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) ministers from the three countries on Tuesday said they were working towards replicating the achievements of the One Area Network initiative, which has resulted in lower calling rates, on regional data charges.

“Our costs are not alarmingly high but we are not satisfied. We are aware that cost is a significant factor when you talk about access. We are looking at a number of ways to address this, including reviewing the taxation regime,” Kenya ICT Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiang’I, said.

The ministers were speaking at the opening of the Connected East Africa conference, a regional forum bringing together government officials, regulators and the private sector in ICT, in Mombasa on Tuesday.

South Sudan Minister for Telecommunications and Postal Services Rebecca Okwaci said the country would be involved in the initiative although it is yet to be admitted into the East Africa Community.

In February, presidents of the five EAC member states gave ICT ministers up to July to harmonise roaming rates in the region.

The directive was issued via a joint communiqué following the 16th heads of state summit held in Nairobi. Tanzania and Burundi finally agreed to join the drive for common roaming rates to cut the cost of calling across borders.