Kenya’s universal service fund extends broadband to underserved areas
Kenya’s telecom regulator has been working to close the digital gap between urban and rural areas of the country, largely relying on the USF.
This supports the updated national broadband strategy, which is focussed on providing a broadband services of at least 3Mb/s to 90% of the population by 2023. In addition, a 10Mb/s service should be available to all schools, healthcare centres, and government facilities by the end of 2022. Further goals for 2030 include providing a 10Mb/s service nationally and a 100Mb/s to 80% of the population.The government commissioned a study (the ICT Access Gaps study) in 2016, which found that 166 of 7,149 locations in the country had no telecom coverage, while an additional 418 had less than 50% population coverage and 5,655 locations were fully covered. The 166 localities accounted for about 2.66 million people.Phase 1 of the project (funded by teh USF) was launched in late 2018, with Safaricom and Telkom Kenya contracted to carry out the work. This work was incomplete, and in February 2021 the regulator identified 101 localities to be covered with telecom services. It committed KES1.57 billion, which formed Phase 2 of the USF. Contracts were awarded to Safaricom, Airtel Kenya, and others, and the work by these companies must be completed within two years.Key developments:
Companies mentioned in this report:
- Telkom Kenya and Airtel Kenya cancel merger plans;
- Phase 2 of the USF gets underway, with work to be completed by late-2023;
- Alphabet cancels Project Loon, though Kenya is chosen to take part in Project Taara to deliver affordable broadband to rural areas lacking connectivity;
- Jambo Pay is awarded an MVNO licence, focussed on the IoT sector;
- Government commits to connecting all schools to the internet by 2030;
- Telkom Kenya selected to manage the PEACE cable landing station;
- Universal Service Fund extends mobile coverage to underserved northern regions;
- Safaricom launches M-Pesa Global payment service, begins limited 5G trials;
- Report update includes the regulator’s market data to June 2021, operator data to Q2 2021, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of Covid-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.
Telkom Kenya, Jamii Telecom, Access Kenya (Dimension Data), Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC), Kenya Pipeline Corporation (KPC), Wananchi, Safaricom, Bharti Airtel, MTN, Liquid Intelligent Technologies (Liquid Telecom), Essar Telkom Kenya, Mobile Pay (Tangaza Pesa), Zioncell Kenya, Finserve Africa (Equitel), Kenya Data Networks (KDN), Jamii Telecom, SimbaNet, Africa Online, Access Kenya (Dimension Data), Wananchi Online, Swift Global, Internet Solutions Kenya (InterConnect), Gilat Satellite Networks, Afsat Communications, Inmarsat, Indigo Telecom (Thuraya), Nation TV (NTV)