Online discussion on State of Broadband in Kenya


Thanks for the congratulatory message and your kind observation on our responsiveness.

We shall revert tomorrow morning to your additional queries.


Sent from my iPhone

On 24 Apr 2019, at 20:23, Mwendwa Kivuva <<>> wrote:

Thank you Wambua for the prompt and detailed response. Let me also be the first on the list to congratulate you on your new signature footer. The thing we end users like about CA is that it is very responsive, and the communications team is willing to brief the community on what is going on. Countless times, Rachel Alwala has always been on standby to respond to listers.

If I am not mistaken, the last time land based internet coverage and population based internet coverage was mentioned on the list, Rachel indicated that CA would update the methodology. While at this, Ali has shared connectivity statistics from CA where 47.9% of internet subscribers are using broadband. Perhaps you can give us your definition of broadband, and also what 47.9% broadband internet subscribers mean. Does it mean people?

Thanks Ali for going deeper on what Broadband means. \”High speed Internet (on fibre, or radio, or coaxial), that is always on. Let me be a case sturdy. Over the last few years, I have used Zuku (5mbps, ksh3000/month), Safaricom fibre (5mbps, ksh3000/month), and Poa internet (2mbps, ksh1500/month) at home. Zuku on fibre but coaxial at home, Safaricom on fibre, and Poa Internet on radio and twisted pair. These three services, Safaricom fibre, Poa Internet, and Zuku, were they always on? No. Could I run a server on it? No. Could I support a life saving machine on it? No.

Now, can these companies claim to be providing broadband at home if it is not always on?

This also leads me to DATA BUNDLES. Is data bundles broadband whether 3G, 4G, 5G?

On Wed, Apr 24, 2019, 4:12 PM Wambua, Christopher <<>> wrote:

Apologies for the belated response. Yes, indeed CA uses population and land based statistics to measure coverage of the population on 2G, 3G, and 4G services. In line with the recommendations of the Access Gaps study carried out in 2016, the Authority is currently implementing two priority universal access projects using the USF levy. These projects are:

1. Education broadband connectivity projects in 896 public secondary schools. This project involves providing broadband connectivity to public secondary schools spread across the 47 counties. So far a total of 600 secondary schools have been connected.
2. The USF voice infrastructure project – which has facilitated mobile voice infrastructure coverage in 62 sub-locations in marginalized areas that previously did not have any coverage. The 62 sub-locations spread across the country, now enjoy access to 3G (voice and data) services.

In appreciation of the importance of ensuring universal access to ICT services, the Authority is currently in the process of tendering for an additional 129 sub-locations that have no coverage, with a view to ensuring that the prevailing voice and data gaps are reduced. It is important to note that the Access Gaps Study identified a total of 512 sub-locations that had zero or less than 30% mobile (voice and data) coverage. The funds required to close these gaps are estimated at Kshs 120 billion. Noting the enormity of the funds required to close the gaps, the Authority is also using other regulatory mechanisms, including licence obligations to the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to fast-track facilitation of connectivity to unserved and underserved population.

We are planning to formally launch these projects to apprise the industry and other stakeholders on the progress made so far in respect to the utilization of the USF. I hope this provides clarity to your concerns.

Christopher Wambua

Director/Communications & Public Affairs | Communications and Public Affairs

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Tel: +254 20 4242000/284
Office Mobile: +254 730 042284/
+254 730172284

P.O. Box 14448 Nairobi 00800

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From: kictanet <<>> on behalf of KICTAnet Discussions <<>>
Reply-To: KICTAnet Discussions <<>>
Date: Wednesday, 24 April 2019 at 13:30
To: Christopher Wambua <<>>
Cc: Kivuva <<>>
Subject: Re: [kictanet] Online discussion on State of Broadband in Kenya

This is such a healthy debate. Thanks for all the contributions. As I try to probe the individual contributors, one thing that is very clear is \”digital inclusion is not that incusive in terms of cost and coverage\”. Perhaps, the regulator, and service providers can pick that concern. It is not just in this forum where cost and coverage it is coming out. 2017 elections anyone? 🙂

Let me start with Dr Robert Muthuri. On the metrics of coverage, the last time Communications Authority (CA) commented on the same question on this list, they said they use \”land based and population based statistics for connectivity\”. Probably this needs to come out clearly in a language that a government technocrat can understand. That way, when e-government services like Huduma services are made mandatory, the government can realize the challenges the citizenry go through to access government services yet they don\’t have Internet access. I will just put Ali\’s quote here \”Considering that most government services are now online how do we propose someone in Pokot, Wajir or Marsabit to use these services if someone in Nairobi is finding it a major challenge to access the ecitizen portal? \”

Great question on the importance of Universal Service Fund (USF) so far in coverage. I hope the USF-board can answer this, or the secretariat at the CA. The last thing I remember is the President raiding the USF. This is what the President said \”We have agreed that in order to boost the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to deal with cybercrime, the Communications Authority – which has the Universal Service Fund through which they collect money and we do not know how they spend it…Sh1 billion from the fund will be moved to the DCI …\”

So you can imagine, if the President does not know what the USF is doing, what about the citizens?

Mwendwa Kivuva, Nairobi,

On Wed, 24 Apr 2019 at 12:31, Robert Muthuri via kictanet <<>> wrote:
Thanks Kivuva,

Two questions a) what metrics do we currently have to measure coverage? b) What is the impact of the USF so far on coverage?


On Wed, Apr 24, 2019 at 8:56 AM Josephine Miliza via kictanet <<>> wrote:
Thanks Kivuva for starting this discussion. Some of the barriers are

* Affordability – If we are looking to have people leverage on the internet for economic empowerment, the current data prices are quite expensive.
* Beyond access, we also need to look at the availability of locally relevant applications and content. For people without a disposable income to spend money on the internet, there needs to be a clear value proposition as to why they should make that investment.

I recommend investing in bottom-up models to close the infrastructure and connectivity gaps. These models are able to identify gaps and create targeted solutions that fit the needs of their local communities. We also need to measure uptake and usage rather than just internet penetration.
We should also create strategies to encourage local businesses, especially in rural and underserved areas to adopt the use of ICTs. This can be done by harnessing the power of community-led initiatives to help spread interest and uptake.

On Wed, Apr 24, 2019 at 8:00 AM Grace Githaiga via kictanet <<>> wrote:
@Mercy I recently experienced \’the converging under a certain tree\’ make or receive a call in Nyandarua. Not too far from Thomson Falls. And I experienced the frustration as the signal was only on that particular tree. You would have thought we were in a meeting. So I am with you on this inequality of our broadband. Until you experience it, then you really do not know what it means.


Grace Githaiga

Twitter: @ggithaiga

Skype: gracegithaiga


…the most important office in a democracy is the citizen. So, you see, that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you!—-Barrack Obama.

From: kictanet <<>> on behalf of kanini mutemi via kictanet <<>>
Sent: 24 April 2019 8:32 AM
Cc: kanini mutemi
Subject: Re: [kictanet] Online discussion on State of Broadband in Kenya

Morning Kivuva,

Like many Kenyans, I love a double life (both urban and rural). While in Nairobi of course I get a good connection- even 4G when I feel rich. What I don’t like is the cost. Safaricom is my provider and though the speeds are satisfactory- I always feel robbed.

Now in my rural life, there really is no connection. Sometimes even shooting a text or making a phone call needs tree-climbing trees. So forget about a 4G connection or a Whatsapp message. FYI my county is quite near to Nairobi. Every time I experience this it magnifies to me the kind of inequality ICT can cause.

On Tue, 23 Apr 2019 at 08:36, Mwendwa Kivuva via kictanet <<>> wrote:

Dear Listers,

As notified last week, we are conducting an assessment on the state of play and impact of broadband in Kenya, broadly looking at the socio-economic impact on consumers, businesses and various sectors like agriculture, education, healthcare, finance and government.

We are looking at real life examples of impact of broadband, challenges we face in increasing impact of broadband and recommendations on interventions needed to address the challenges identified.

For this discussion, we define broadband as any fast internet. Fast enough to serve your intended purpose. We can have an extended definition through the discussion.

Some of the questions we should answer are:

1. What is the current state of broadband in Kenya? What is the current coverage of broadband in Kenya? Do you have broadband internet in your area? How affordable is the available broadband?
2. What barriers are there in increasing impact of broadband in Kenya?
3. What recommendations can counter the barriers identified in increasing impact of broadband?

Looking forward to a grrat debate.

Mwendwa Kivuva
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