The liberalization of the communications sector has had a positive effect on the deployment of communications infrastructure and services in the country. However, the opening up of the sector has not availed communications services to all in Kenya as the licensed commercial operators and service providers have tended to concentrate operations in areas where a return on investment is guaranteed.
The Kenya Communications (Amendment) Act, 2009, provides for the establishment of a Universal Service Fund (USF), administered and managed by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA). The purpose of the Fund is to support widespread access to ICT services, promote capacity building and innovation in ICT services in the country.
The sources of the Fund include levies on licensees, appropriations from Government as well as grants and donations. The Fund is expected to finance national projects that have significant impact on the availability and accessibility of ICTs in rural, remote and poor urban areas.
Consequently, areas (both urban and rural) that are perceived as commercially unviable have over time remained either un-served or under-served. The Communications Authority of Kenya is responsible for ensuring that all in Kenya have access to affordable communications services.
The Communications Authority of Kenya undertook a National ICT Access gap study in 2016. The study determined access to and use of ICT by public institutions and enterprises in Kenya. To redress the access gaps, the Authority has undertaken two major projects.
Voice Infrastructure Projects: The ICT Access Gap study by the Authority identified sub-locations that are either unserved or underserved with communications services. To bridge the 2G voice gap, the Authority initiated these projects to facilitate provision of telecommunication services. So far 66 Sub Locations have been connected to the mobile services.
Education Broadband Connectivity Project: The Authority in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) began the implementation of the education broadband project in order to enhance ICT connectivity in the country’s public learning institutions. The project is aimed at supporting provision of 5 Mbps Internet services in public secondary schools. So far 887 schools have been connected.
The Authority has developed the Universal Service Fund (USF) Framework in line with the provisions of the Sector Legislation.