Licensing and Shared Spectrum Framework for Community Networks for Kenya online discussion

Dear Mwendwa and Colleagues,

This is a great discussion. First i would like to thank the Communications
Authority for its innovativeness and determination to engage stakeholders
on matters under its purview. I would also like to thank the Kenya ICT
Action Network for leaving up to its vision of catalizing access to ICTs
and the Association of Progressive Communications and other partners who
have made this initiative possible. My responses are inline

On Thu, May 27, 2021 at 5:20 PM Mwendwa Kivuva via kictanet <
kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke> wrote:

> Dear Listers,
>
> As we had indicated, today we will have a discussion on the Licensing and
> Shared Spectrum Framework for Community Networks for Kenya that was issued
> by the Communications Authority of Kenya, available for direct download
> here
> <ca.go.ke/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Licensing-and-Shared-Spectrum-Framework-for-Community-Networks-May-2021.docx.pdf>
> .
>
> Today, we will discuss the licensing aspect of the community networks. and
> tomorrow about the shared spectrum framework.
>
> The Community Network Licensing framework proposes;
> 1. Community Network Service Provider (CNSP) License to be created within
> the Unified Licensing Framework.
>
*This is a welcome move. Reading the draft licensing framework i noted that
previous , a license existed which was meant for resellers of Communication
services which did not require payment of any fees. I noted that this
license was withdrawn because there were no applicants for it. I would like
to request for further clarity from the drafters on this issue and whether
we could adopt or have adopted some of the provisions for Community
Networks. Be that as it may the Community Network License is a welcome
move.*

> 2. The community network should be fully controlled by a non-profit entity
> and carried on for non-profitable purposes, encouraging members of the
> community to participate in the governance, design, and operationalisation.
>
*This is a good proposal. However where possible, Community Networks should
be allowed to establish subsidiaries to operate the networks if and when
they scale. There is a very thin line between Community Radio and Community
Networks and they require unique attention and expertise which may call for
creation of Special purpose Vehicles. However the initiating organization
should have a Community Centric outlook.*

> 3. Two letters of support from Community Leaders as part of the
> application process for CNSP to ensure community ownership
>
*I agree with Twahir this might not be necessary provided the organization
is a duly registered not for profit entity serving the Community.*

> 3. Geographical coverage of a CNSP will be a sub-county boundary
>
*Counties and Sub Counties vary and overlap in some instances. I would want
to understand the rationale behind the proposal for the county but would
propose that we go for the county boundary.*

> 4. License period of 10years with License Application fee Ksh1000, Initial
> Operating License Fee Ksh 5000, and Annual Operating Fee Ksh5000.
>
*I find the fee to reasonable provided it is unified*

> 6. Spectrum Fee: Fee waiver for non-protected access to lightly-licensed
> and license-exempt frequency bands by wireless access systems
>
*This is a good proposal. There are large areas of the country where
frequency is unutilized or underutilized that could be of benefit to the
Community. Provided CA Safeguards are respected, we should allocate more
unutilized spectrum for Community Services. Usage of the same can be
monitored to ensure that it is only used for intended purposes.*

> 7. CNSPs would be exempt from USF contributions, while the USF
> implementation framework may include a community ICT development and/or
> capacity building component. The authority shall further examine ways to
> ensure that community networks receive consideration under the future
> framework for the Universal Service Fund
>
*This is a good proposal. In any case Community Networks aquire bandwidth
from providers at a cost which contributes to the USF kitty. The beauty of
Community Networks is they spur innovation by relying on expertise found
within the Community which contributes to fostering a culture of innovation
across the country.*

>
> Questions:
> =========
>
> – What are your comments on the proposed licensing framework?
> – What gaps have you identified in the proposed licensing framework?
> – How would you recommend addressing the identified gaps?
> – What recommendations do you have for CA to improve entry into the
> telecommunications market in Kenya?
>
> Looking forward to an engaging discussion.
>
> ______________________
> Mwendwa Kivuva, Nairobi, Kenya
> www.linkedin.com/in/mwendwa-kivuva
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