The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has acknowledged that the update of ICT devices in Kenya has not been at its best, and is, therefore, seeking the input of stakeholders, the public and friends of the ICT industry on how the issue can be addressed.
In the past two decades, the ICT regulator has facilitated the general development of the sector in Kenya with varying levels of success. At the moment, up to 95 percent of Kenyans can get access to and use ICT services. The development has been replicated in the mobile field with more than 53.2 million active subscriptions as per the latest sector report numbers by the Authority (ended September 2019).
Similar to other emerging and developed markets, Kenya has seen notable growth in technologies such as mobile broadband, Wi-Fi connectivity, IoT and its associated devices as well as cloud services. These developments are evident based on the number of companies that offer broadband services and retailers that sell ICT devices. Kenyans are more aware of their benefits, and we have also seen hundreds of ICT-based businesses that are taking advantage of this rapid advancement in tech.
That aside, the number of devices in Kenya is still underwhelming if we were to take CA’s word. While their price has declined over the years thanks to innovation and competition, the current cost of these ICT devices is still high, and the majority of Kenyans cannot afford them. According to the CA, the issue is broadening the digital divide.
To this end, the CA is looking forward to changing things so that the prohibitive costs associated with devices, among other hindrances, are eliminated or managed. This, the CA hopes, can be achieved by examining input and views from the public as it develops a requisite framework to harness the exercise.
Among the issues that the CA looks forward to addressing based on views from stakeholders and the public include:
- The sufficiency or otherwise of the national policies and strategies relating to get access to and application of ICT services by all citizens
- Specific proposals that will further boost easier access to internet-enabled devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc. in both urban and rural/marginalized areas of Kenya
- Factors that inhibit ownership of ICT devices at the individual level
- Strategies to increase ownership of ICT devices by individual
- Strategies for lowering the cost of ICT devices
Parties interested in this exercise can send their reviews and views to the Director-General via email ([email protected]) or via regular mail (P.O. BOX 14448 – Nairobi) before Feb 25.