Internet Should Be A Public Utility Service

In my view, you are all right. Broadband in Kenya, by and large, is a
public utility. The much of the undersea cables and NOFBI are indeed public
assets and are well maintained. These investments were meant to be just
like the road network where we as the private sector can bring our
competitive spirit and innovations. It is the competition that brings down
pricing and facilitates good service. The regulator was created to ensure
we have good services at a fair price. On the last mile, some policy
interventions like infrastructure sharing and other incentives are already
in place. What makes the difference is what the private users do on the
infrastructure. We are not doing well in that space especially on local
content development. Imagine if we had a hackathon on learning modules for
standard 8 and form 4 such that in this difficult time, we can have the
best teacher (best content and presentation) is used to get these students
through their syllabi and be ready for the exams in November. Instead of
kids watching cartoons, we could utilize this time for experimentation of
online learning. Instead, we are all complaining when the entire country
today has internet (Yes the whole country since Alphabet are providing
services directly from the balloons).

Ndemo.

On Mon, Apr 6, 2020 at 1:58 PM Barrack Otieno via kictanet <
kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke> wrote:

> Timely conversation @Dorcas Muthoni <dmuthoni@gmail.com> , Beryl and
> Colleagues,
>
> We have come a long way as a country but could still do better with
> respect to access to digital infrastructure. A lot of effort has been made
> to connect our Villages to the National Electricity grid. This was largely
> inspired by the Digital Literacy Programme that was being championed by the
> government through the Ministry of ICT. We also have the National Optic
> Fibre project (NOFBI) which i understand has been extended to sub county
> level under the stewardship of ICTA, however it is not being utilized
> optimally. There is also the question of availability and affordability of
> smart devices and taxation of digital products and services yet according
> to the latest census report, only 3.7 percent of the countries Citizens
> engage in Electronic Commerce which may imply that we are not yet Africa’s
> Silicon Savannah as we have been thinking.
> In a previous conversation on this list last week on whether the Internet
> in Kenya is resilient enough to withstand this crisis and similar
> sentiments arose in that conversation.
> While i agree with Dorcas that the Internet Should be a Public Utility
> Service, i would also like to propose that we must ensure the Public Core
> of the Internet is protected, (the Domain Name System and our Internet
> Exchange points ) to name but a few so that the Internet does not become a
> new front for Human Rights abuse, insecurity and expansion of inequalities
> between the haves and the have nots.
> Secondly as i proposed to Senator Abshiro in the previous conversation ,
> the Senate and Parliament needs to be on the frontline in enacting bills
> similar to the High Perfomance Computing Act (also known as the Gore bill
> which as passed in 1991 which availed federal funding for high speed
> Networks).
> Having listened to our members of parliament, i have heard fears such as
> ICT’s don’t translate into votes, Fibre does not bring water to name but a
> few. It is this kind of thinking we will need to change if we are to win
> this final push. We need champions in parliament who will make this
> conversation a reality.
> Finally i think @Liz Orembo <lizorembo@kictanet.or.ke> should amalgate
> all the infrastructure related conversations in the last three weeks as
> our submission to the National Assembly.
>
> Best Regards
>
> On Mon, Apr 6, 2020 at 8:18 AM Beryl Aidi via kictanet <
> kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke> wrote:
>
>> Hi
>> Quite a timely and very difficult conversation indeed. To date, I still
>> think that ICT is treated as luxury as there are many arguments that the
>> low income communities first need basic needs (water, food and adequate
>> shelter) met before we can think of the internet, yet we are talking of
>> e-learning, e-commerce, e-government etc. This is indicative of the
>> continuing growing inequality gap and has a lot to do with government and
>> also to a large extend, private sector, priority.
>> Several years ago when ICT4D and M4D were becoming a thing, an attempt to
>> bridge the digital divide through a project that aimed at enabling
>> community-based human rights networks harness the power of the internet to
>> do engage better through an ICT4D initiative. Most of the networks were
>> rural and totally out of the grid, apart from having no computer literacy.
>> Once the literacy issue was overcome, still access was the greatest barrier
>> as powering computers and laptops need adequate supply of electricity.
>> Well, an idea to use generators attempted, but access was still out of
>> reach as the signals from mobile modems, regardless of the ISP was too
>> weak. Actually, to date, when I go to the village, mobile internet is still
>> very problematic. Not to mention how expensive it is to use bundles as
>> opposed to using wifi. Again, the cost of bundles is still out of reach for
>> the low income households.
>> In short, infrastructure as the backbone is absolutely necessary. What is
>> the point of Safaricom, Zuku, Airtel, Telcom and Jamii Telcom, to name the
>> big players, to continue fighting over the pie in Kileleshwa, Kilimani,
>> Karen, Runda etc urging us to migrate, when there are myriads of households
>> elsewhere near and far inadequately served?
>> We need better policies to ensure access, and not one service provider or
>> another running to Communications Community to get advantage over others.
>> These are long term issues and both government and the private sector
>> should prioritize these. The internet is no longer luxury, has never been.
>> And as such should be a public good, easily accessible and affordable.
>> In the meantime, what can be done even as Coronavirus threatens to grind
>> life as we know it to halt?
>>
>> Regards
>> Beryl
>>
>> On Sun, Apr 5, 2020 at 7:25 PM John Kariuki via kictanet <
>> kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke> wrote:
>>
>>> Hi.
>>> As we discuss the matter of public utility we shall need it does not
>>> necessarily mean Universal Service. It could start with more policy,
>>> regulatory and legal intervention and even classified as critical
>>> infrastructure. FYI, in Kenya until late 70’s telecommunications was
>>> considered a luxury and the debate of food versus telecommunications was
>>> quite common in the Minitstry of Finance. In the 1990’s use of Internet in
>>> Government was banned. Even in early 2000 PC’s were not considered a
>>> priority. Regarding power, Kenya is lucky at the moment because we have
>>> surplus generating capacity.
>>> We are quite fortunate that we have demand
>>> . The GOK has so many services on line. It means that Wanjiku has a good
>>> reason to be computer literate in order to access services. Private sector
>>> is following closely. In the past demand forecast was hell if one was to
>>> avoid over investment and under utilization.
>>>
>>> The journey needs to start.
>>>
>>> John Kariuki
>>> Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android
>>> <go.onelink.me/107872968?pid=InProduct&c=Global_Internal_YGrowth_AndroidEmailSig__AndroidUsers&af_wl=ym&af_sub1=Internal&af_sub2=Global_YGrowth&af_sub3=EmailSignature>
>>>
>>> On Sun, Apr 5, 2020 at 14:15, kanini mutemi via kictanet
>>> <kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke> wrote:
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>>> regulation. The network aims to act as a catalyst for reform in the ICT
>>> sector in support of the national aim of ICT enabled growth and development.
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>>> KICTANetiquette : Adhere to the same standards of acceptable behaviors
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>>
>>
>> —
>> Beryl
>> ***********************************************
>> Darkness cannot put out the Light. It can only make God brighter.
>> —Author Unknown.
>>
>>
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>> The Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) is a multi-stakeholder platform
>> for people and institutions interested and involved in ICT policy and
>> regulation. The network aims to act as a catalyst for reform in the ICT
>> sector in support of the national aim of ICT enabled growth and development.
>>
>> KICTANetiquette : Adhere to the same standards of acceptable behaviors
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>
>
> —
> Barrack O. Otieno
> +254721325277
> +254733206359
> Skype: barrack.otieno
> PGP ID: 0x2611D86A
>
>
>
>
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> The Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) is a multi-stakeholder platform
> for people and institutions interested and involved in ICT policy and
> regulation. The network aims to act as a catalyst for reform in the ICT
> sector in support of the national aim of ICT enabled growth and development.
>
> KICTANetiquette : Adhere to the same standards of acceptable behaviors
> online that you follow in real life: respect people’s times and bandwidth,
> share knowledge, don’t flame or abuse or personalize, respect privacy, do
> not spam, do not market your wares or qualifications.
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