wiresIn a bid to curb the rising incidents of telecom infrastructure vandalism, the Kenyan government has made known its intention to put in place a telecom infrastructure protection law by the end of December 2013.

Information Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i told journalists in Nairobi that the move was aimed at stemming the losses experienced by the sector due to vandalism.

“The law will classify telecom infrastructure as utilities so that penalties for tampering with the assets are severe enough to discourage any interference,” Matiang’i said during a meeting with all licensed telecom operators in Kenya.

Vandalism is reported to have jeopardised Kenya’s communications capacity, leading to losses amounting to over KSh500 million (approx US$5.6 million) a year. A single incident in 2008 saw Kenya Power lose nearly KSh28 million (approx US$420,000).

Meanwhile, telecom operators continue to report losses from theft of underground and overhead cables, which insiders say fetch high prices in the black market.