Online discussion on State of Broadband in Kenya

Hi Mwendwa and Listers , my responses inline

On Tue, Apr 23, 2019 at 8:36 AM Mwendwa Kivuva via kictanet <
kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke> 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?
>
> In my humble opinion we have what i would term as organized chaos in the
sector. When i am walking in the streets of Nairobi and a couple of Estates
within 20 Kilometres radius of the City, i enjoy some form of broad band
the moment i go beyond this barrier the status on my gadgets changes to
broadband left.
Broadband is not cheap 300 MB is equivalent to two loaves of bread or two
packets of milk. I have to choose between what i should tradeoff which is
not good :-(.
While we have experienced some benefits with the little broadband that we
get, new vices have also come up. As someone who deals with Youth in Social
circles, we have many young people struggling with Porn and other vices
that they have picked as a result of using broadband without guidance.
Other young people have become career movie watchers taking laziness to
another paradigm. The real sectors that would benefit from broadband such
as kiosks, schools, the agriculture sector and even the government are
really underserved. On Saturday i was seeking services from my local Chiefs
office and she had to shuttle between two offices 5 Kilometres apart to
look for two sets of documents which she needed to provide a service. There
was no Internet connection or ICT devices in any of the offices. As a
practising subsistence farmer, i have to drive 50 Kilometres to look for
Agronomists since it is a real headache to balance between using my solar
power to try and google with unreliable broadband or just get the
agronomist and pay him USD 50 for a day with him at the farm. In healthcare
, there is almost zero impact from where i stand especially in rural areas
that would benefit from specialists.
We need a standard definition of broadband as a country. We also need
serious quality control on the service being offered by ISPs. Communication
Authority should up its game. For example last week i was busy googling in
a lift only to discover that my 300 MB had mysteriously disappeared and i
was using my airtime. The next day while typing a complaint my 300 mb was
restored as recovered bundles (whatever that means) and i was given a time
frame to use the same. This is thuggery to say the least as it compares to
someone snatching my hard earned loaf of bread or two packets of milk and
should be condemned by the Communications Authority.

>
> 1. What barriers are there in increasing impact of broadband in Kenya?
>
> The major barrier is the legal and regulatory framework. I also think we
lack leadership. We have people charged with utilizing the Universal Access
Fund to ensure that the benefits of broadband reach every corner of this
country. They have let us down as a nation. We need to build the Capacity
of County Governments in appreciating the Socio-Economic Impact of
Broadband. From recent visits to various counties, i can say without
batting an eyelid that broadband is not a priority and is the least concern
in the counties. However there is an opportunity to make broadband part and
parcel of Infrastructural Investments which currently focus on roads and
water.

>
> 1. What recommendations can counter the barriers identified in
> increasing impact of broadband?
>
> 1) We need a definition of what broadband is and ensure that the same is
availed to citizens at an affordable rate. For example when i buy a packet
of milk there are no stories of contention etc, 1 litre is l litre.
Likewise 1 MB should be 1 MB. We need legal and regulatory frameworks to
protect consumers.
2) We need proper leadership in so far as utilization of the Universal
Access Fund is concerned. The USAC board should be apolitical. We need
people that have demonstrated passion, knowledge and knowhow to champion
broadband to all sectors of this great republic.
3) We need political will. County Governments have to make broadband a top
priority since they have been one of the greatest impediments to
penetration of broadband. They need to be told as it is that they are
dragging our country behind. For example why should they charge
unreasonable levies for way leaves yet it is their sons and daughters and
consitituents wo are benefiting from from the job opportunities provided
through laying and utilization of the broadband. We need to find a way of
ensuring this message gets home very clearly.

Best Regards

Looking forward to a grrat debate.
> Sincerely,
> ______________________
> Mwendwa Kivuva
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