New Law Proposes to Set Aside 60 Percent of USF Kitty to Boost Telecom Services in Rural Kenya

Ezra Chiloba, Director-General, Communication Authority of Kenya
Ezra Chiloba, Director-General, Communication Authority of Kenya

The Kenya Communications (Amendment) Act, 2009 provided the establishment of the Universal Service Fund (USF). The kitty is managed by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA).

Its main goal is to promote communications infrastructure and services rollout in rural, remote, and underserved areas.

The fund is also used to ensure the availability of communication services to Persons with Disabilities, women, and other vulnerable groups.

At the same time, it supports the development of capacity building in ICTs and technological innovation.

It has further been used for the expansion of communication services to schools, health facilities, and other organizations serving public needs, as well as facilitating the development of and access to a wide range of local and relevant.

Today, we have learned that the National Assembly is seeking to amend the Act in what has been named the Kenya Information and Communications (Amendment) Bill, 2022. The proposal seeks to insert new sub-sections that add more use cases for the kitty.

Specifically, the insertions are dividing the amount of money that should be used for each of the said goals.

The first point is that 60 percent of USF shall be used for ensuring the availability of telecom services to all customers, including those in low-income and rural areas.

Then, 20 percent of the fund shall be used for boosting access to telecoms and advanced services in schools, libraries, and rural healthcare facilities.

Ten percent of the Fund will be used for ensuring increased nationwide access to advanced telecoms services.

Lastly, the Bill suggests that the last 10 percent of the fund shall be used for furthering other objectives of USF as the CA may determine.

“A person who fails to utilize or utilizes the Universal Fund in a manner that does not promote the objectives of the Fund, commits an offense and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding two million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to both,” reads the Bill.

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Kenn Abuya is a friend of technology, with bias in enterprise and mobile tech. Share your thoughts, tips and hate mail at [email protected]