The chairperson of the Universal Service Fund (USF) Dr.Catherine Ngahu (left),Mr.Christopher Kemei,Director,Licensing,Compliance and Standards (centre) and Mr.Matano Ndaro,Director,Competition,Tariffs and Market Analysis at the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA),during the release of  preliminary findings of an ICT Access Gap study in Kenya.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has embarked on efforts to facilitate universal access to communications services in the country with the release of preliminary findings of a study commissioned to establish the extent of access to ICT services in the country.

The ICT Access Gap study, undertaken by Canadian firm, Intelecon Research and Consultancy, provides insights on the existing disparities in access to ICTs; gaps that will be addressed by the Universal Service Fund (USF).

According to the study, about 94.4 percent of the population is covered by ICT services while 5.6 per cent remains unserved accounting for about 2.66 Million people. 5,655 sub-locations have 100 per cent coverage, while 418 sub-locations have less than 50 per cent coverage. 166 sub-locations have no coverage at all.

Speaking during the launch of the results, Dr. Catherine Ngahu, chairperson of the Universal Service Advisory Council (USAC), said the study will give the current scenario of the ICT landscape that will be critical in decision making of what priorities to be given to the various deficiencies. “This study is crucial to the development of the industry, as it will provide a roadmap for the Universal Service Fund Strategy. It will go a long way in unlocking the utilization of the Ksh2.94 billion collected so far in addition to providing the much needed direction for the sector especially in deployment of broadband infrastructure,” said Dr. Ngahu.

From the Ksh2.94 billion USF Kitty, Ksh. 1.5 billion has been set aside for the implementation of USF projects focusing on voice and broadband. Tenders for the infrastructure projects worth Ksh.1billion will be advertised from September 2016 with emphasis on voice and broadband coverage in identified access gaps areas. Ksh. 500 million will be used to support Internet connectivity in learning institutions across the country.

CA Director General Mr. Francis Wangusi, in a speech read by the Director, Licensing, Compliance and Standards, Mr. Christopher Kemei, said achievement of access to ICTs will contribute greatly to the economy through, reduced transaction costs, increased efficiency through digitization of government services and improved living standards which is one of the government’s priorities.

In addition to the study, the event also saw the launch of an interactive web portal, which maps out specific areas that are in dire need of deployment of ICT infrastructure across the country. “This interactive web portal will be invaluable not only to the government, but also the private sector and the general public in accessing relevant information on the development of the sector,’’ added Mr.Wangusi.

You can access the preliminary findings of the study here