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

See my *responses *below

On Fri, May 28, 2021 at 10:39 AM Mwendwa Kivuva <>

> Thanks Twahir, see some of my follow-up inline.
> On Thu, 27 May 2021 at 23:44, Twahir Hussein Kassim <>
> wrote:
>>> 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.
>> *Forcing this to be solely for nonprofits is skewed on unfairness.
>> Community Networks many a time have been looked upon ONLY as organisations
>> that serve with no profits, however, I must say that this is what has been
>> a cause for CNs not picking up as they fail to be sustainable. Additionally
>> attaching it to community ownership especially in areas where the value of
>> the net is yet to be appreciated might be a tall order.*
>> *Suggestions:-*
>> *a) should be open to both for profit and nonprofit. However, there
>> should be attached the need to serve the community. Market forces will
>> determine pricing.*
> Why would for-profit organizations not go for the normal Tier 3 ISP
> license?
* Ideally, many who opt to setup CNs are small scale, going for the Tier 3
ISP license is definitely beyond their reach. Having said that, they do
however add value to where traditional ISPs have shied away from; and this
is the bottom line of this conversation – connecting the unconnected.*

> Also, probably we need a better understanding of non-profit organizations.
> It does not mean the CN will not charge for services, but rather, the
> pricing will take into account community interests, public good, and any
> income will be used to grow the initiative further.
>> *b) There are many individuals who set out to serve communities. At onset
>> forcing that registration is only for community run projects might lead
>> some areas to remain in net-darkness. We are talking rural folks in most of
>> these cases, many such setups are started by individuals and as kids
>> benefit the adults start taking notice and interest comes on. Let this not
>> be a blanket rule, let it be on a case basis.*
>> 3. Two letters of support from Community Leaders as part of the
>>> application process for CNSP to ensure community ownership
>> *Unfortunately here we shall be killing a heifer before it grows into a
>> cow to be milked. The sorry state of nepotism and corruption that exists
>> within our borders will see a new avenue to make a quick buck. Let this be
>> a peer review process, where CNs vouch for others; the CN space is a small
>> community that can assist CA is vetting these.*
> Good feedback. Your suggestion is for CNs to recommend each other, instead
> of using community leaders as referees.
* Yes sir 🙂 *

>> 3. Geographical coverage of a CNSP will be a sub-county boundary
>> *This is welcomed though county wide coverage would be make more sense.
>> The reality is TELCOs only focus on areas where it makes financial sense
>> which has seen town centres being the focus, moving out of CBDs in most
>> “rural” counties would reveal no coverage beyond a 5-10km in many cases. I
>> would suggest countywide coverage.*
> I have seen several calls for county-wide coverage. Well noted.
>> 4. License period of 10years with License Application fee Ksh1000,
>>> Initial Operating License Fee Ksh 5000, and Annual Operating Fee Ksh5000.
>> *Application fees of 1000 is very welcomed, however this should cover the
>> initial operating license too. The annual fee should be set to 1000 per
>> location. What we need to realise is that the CNs are basically trying to
>> cover what USF SHOULD have covered by now. Most of these CNs would
>> basically be serving Wanjiku and barely sustainable if we are to take
>> example of many CNs which are mostly donor supported.*
> What do you mean by “annual fees should be set to 1000 per location?”. In
> this case location means one CN license?
*Yes 1 CN license per location of operation; e.g. if Dunia Moja Network
operates in Kilifi and Tana River County then each county location should
be treated as a different CN i.e. DMN – Kilifi, DNM – Tana River etc.*

> On license fee, you mean that annual operating license fee should be
> Ksh1000?
*Yes *

>> 6. Spectrum Fee: Fee waiver for non-protected access to lightly-licensed
>>> and license-exempt frequency bands by wireless access systems
>> *The CNs should be allowed to operate Radio, TV and ISP services within
>> their jurisdiction areas.*
> CN has intricate license categories for broadcast media. How would those
> licenses be woven into the CN license? CN also has a similar license for
> community broadcasters by the way.
> ” community broadcasting service as an entity which meets all the
> following requirements:
> a. is fully controlled by a non-profit entity and carried on for
> non-profitable purposes;
> b. serves a particular community;
> c. encourages members of the community served by it or persons associated
> with or promoting the interests of such community to participate in the
> selection and provision of programmes to be broadcast in the course of such
> broadcasting service; and
> d. may be funded by donations, grants, sponsorships or membership fees, or
> by any combination of the aforementioned
*The essence behind this suggestion is to empower CNs to be a 1 stop shop
for all community communication needs. This will empower the communities
PLUS also capture the LOCAL CONTENT problem that we are currently
complaining about. Take a scenario of a school drama then can be broadcast
to the community… local values taught, content created! *

>> 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
>> *Not only should CNs be exempted from USF Contributions; they should be
>> funded by USF as essentially what CNs have setup to do is step in where USF
>> is yet to reach. *
> This has been one of the recommendations of the licensing framework.
> ” Community networks require comparatively modest sums of money to get
> started and a small grants program initiated by the USF could kickstart new
> community networks. The authority will explore establishing a subsidy for
> start-up funds for community networks, under special projects, to help
> catalyse initiative from communities to develop locally-owned connectivity
> solutions “
> ______________________
> Mwendwa Kivuva, Nairobi, Kenya

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