The Director of Administration in the ministry of ICT Mr.Henry Mung’asia (left),CA Director General , Mr.Francis Wangusi (centre)  and Ms.Catherine Ngahu (right) the chairperson of the Universal service Advisory Council (USAC) during the launch of the ICT Access Gaps Study in Nairobi.The study expected to take 52 weeks, will  inform the utilisation of the Universal Service Fund to address disparities in access to communications services in the country.

 

The Communications Authority Kenya (CA) has launched a study to establish gaps in access to ICT services in the country.

The Authority has contracted Canadian firm, Intelecon Research and Consultancy Ltd, to undertake the study, whose findings will be instrumental in the implementation of the Universal Service Fund (USF) to address the disparities in the access to communication services.

The consultant will among other activities, identify areas without communication services that require deliberate intervention through provision of subsidies and other incentives, develop an interactive online portal for the gaps, indicate interventions by the USF and determine the cost of rolling out services.

The launch of the study was introduced to key sector stakeholders today, outlining the methodology to be used in gathering the necessary data.

Speaking during the event, ICT Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i who was represented by the Director of Administration in the Ministry of ICT Mr.Henry Mung’asia said the study will be an invaluable tool for useful information on the development of the ICT sector to the government, the private sector and the general public.

The USF was established by law to address the disparities that exist in access to ICT services in Kenya. The Authority is mandated to manage and administer the Fund while the Universal Service Advisory Council (USAC) will provide policy and strategic guidance. All licencees in the ICT sector contribute 0.5 per cent of their annual gross turnover to this kitty.

According to the USAC chairperson Ms.Catherine Ngahu, the new study will provide a true reflection of the extent of the access gaps within the country so that appropriate interventions can be put in place.

Over the years, operators have been shying away from extending their services to some areas because of high investment cost and low returns. Ms.Ngahu says the USF, alongside other incentives, will cushion the service providers from these losses, and enable them to roll out communication services to the un-served and underserved areas.

CA Director General Mr. Francis Wangusi says the new study was necessary to capture the dynamics witnessed in the ICT sector from the time the initial study was undertaken in 2010. “I would urge that we have a cohesive approach so that we have a clear understanding of the dynamics and impact of the fast-changing sector.” He further added that competition has and will continue to play a key role in driving down prices and improving quality of service.

The 2010 study identified voice gaps in 1,119 sub-locations and data gaps in 4,734 sub-locations and a deficit of 147 sub post offices.

The Authority has been engaging players in the sector in implementing various regulatory initiatives with the aim of promoting connectivity in the country. These initiatives include the obligation to roll out services in high cost areas, spectrum fees waivers, as well as infrastructure sharing.


CA has also rolled out several pilot projects in the un-served and underserved areas in order to help meet the connectivity objectives. This year, the Authority is partnering with the Kenya National Library Services to set up 46 E-resource Centers around the country.

Find the initial presentation on this link