By Ronald Owili
A preliminary study on ICT Access Gap indicates that insecurity, high cost of setting up infrastructure and commercial viability due low population density are among reasons most areas in the country have not enjoyed digital dividend.
Universal Service Advisory Council chairperson Dr. Catherine Ngau says of the 2.94 billion shillings that has been remitted to the Universal Service Fund, 1.5 billion shillings has been allocated beginning September for infrastructure development and internet connectivity to learning institutions.
Even as the number of mobile subscribers surged to 37.8 million representing 88.1% penetration according to CA, ICT Access Gap preliminary study by Intelecon Reserch and Consultancy indicates 387 sub-locations in the country need Universal Service Fund support.
This excludes areas where operators have license obligations to have voice, calls, sms and data services. According to the study, penetration level of broadband in the country is currently at 14.7%.
The study has also found that while 94.4% have access to 2G, and 60% 3G, they are mainly concentrated in urban centres.
To expand ICT services to underserved regions, the Universal service fund seeks to ensure all operators remit 0.5% of gross revenue to the fund. Ksh 2.91b has been remitted so far.
The government further plans to leverage on existing infrastructure of Kenya Pipeline, Kenya Power and Ketraco for further broadband reach.