It is apparent that the penetration of digital services sees new strides every year. This progress continues to be achieved thanks to intensive efforts by regulators such as the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) as well as carriers.
While different regions in the country do not have equal access to some of these services, regulators and other players have not been left in their effort to offer similar and robust services to locals, which is why the CA injected KES 2.1 billion from the Universal Service Fund (USF). The funds, which are contributed by operators, purpose to boost voice infrastructure in some parts of the country that have been left out for some time now.
The exact benefits of this investment can only be seen over time but it is worth mentioning that reports from the CA indicated a marginal growth in voice traffic for the first quarter of 2017/18 financial year. Mobile networks registered a jump in voice traffic from 10.6 billion minutes in the preceding quarter to 11.0 billion minutes. Most of the traffic was contributed by Safaricom at 8.5 billion voice traffic minutes, followed by Airtel and Telkom Kenya in the third place.
According to Business Daily, carriers received KES 1.25 billion worth of contracts to expand their voice services to 78 sub-locations across the country. It should be noted that affected regions were identified some time in 2016, and most of them lie in the northern part of Kenya.
The remaining chunk of the KES 2.1 billion investment was used to upgrade and connect 896 public secondary schools to high speed internet. The project, which is still underway, is being put in place with the help of the Ministry of Education, as well as internet firms such as Xtranet Communications, Liquid Telecom and Comcarrier Satellite Services.
The CA contributes 25 percent of its revenue to USF, while operators chip in with 0.5 percent of their annual turnover. Since its conception in 2013, UFS has collected KES 5.3 billion.