* Third cable a private initiative
* Minister says uptake of capacity slow
NAIROBI, March 18 (Reuters) - An underwater fibre-optic cable will land at the Kenyan coast this week, taking the number of high speed Internet links to the east African nation to three, Kenya’s minister for communications said on Thursday.
Samuel Poghisio told Reuters the Eastern African Submarine Cable System (EASSy) would raise the bandwidth capacity available, but regretted that uptake was slow even after the activation of the first two cables, SEACOM and TEAMS, last year.
“By March 21, we should have the cable fully landed here. It has been a long wait so Kenya is obviously excited to be hosting and that is additional capacity for our computers, for media, for development,” he said on the sidelines of a conference.
“The challenge is still uptake of this so much capacity that is coming to the east African coast.”
Connections to the Internet stand at 8 percent in Africa and only 3 percent of the population has access to broadband. [ID:nLDE60U00J]
Poghisio said the project was funded by regional investors at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.
The top official at the same ministry told Reuters last month that high charges were hindering the growth of electronic commerce, an area that officials hoped would benefit from faster and more widely accessible Internet. [ID:nLDE61N1MS] (Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by David Clarke and David Holmes)