Universal Access Overview
The liberalization of the communications sector in Kenya over two decades ago 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 Information and 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 Authority is responsible for ensuring that all in Kenya have access to affordable communications services.
The Authority undertook ICT Access gap studies in 2016 and in 2021 to determine access to and use of ICTs by public institutions and enterprises in Kenya. To redress the access gaps, the Authority has undertaken a number or projects and has initiated several others for implementation.
Voice Infrastructure Projects: The Authority identified sub-locations that are either unserved or underserved with communications services. The first phase of this project saw 78 sub-locations connected to mobile network and services with the second phase targetting 101 sub-locations. A thirdf phase is planned to cover 67 sub-locations.
Education Broadband Connectivity Project: The Authority implemented the Education Broadband Connectivity project in order to enhance ICT connectivity in the country’s public learning institutions. The project supported the provision of 5 Mbps Internet services in 884 public secondary schools across the 47 Counties.
E-Resource Centres: The Authority has collaborated with the Kenya National Library Service (KNLS) for the supporting of 56 public libraries with computers, Internet connectivity and software for the visually impaired to enhance inclsuivity and tranform the libraries into e-resource centres.
Open Education Resources: The Authority is partnering with the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) to digitize education content. This is geared towards narrowing the education divide in teh country by availing high quality education content to school going children across the country through a portal.