The Communications Authority of Kenya is seeking a consultant to identify regions facing challenges in access to ICT services as it prepares to implement the Universal Service Fund’s functions. this is according to The Star.
According to the report, the CA received the first contribution of $1 million towards the Fund in August last year, setting the stage for initiating access programmes to bridge the communication gap in the country.
“The authority is required to ensure provision of universal services to all parts of the country including rural and other high cost areas,” said CA in a published notice. “Towards this, the authority is seeking services of a consultant to carry out an ICT access gaps study to identify gaps/high cost areas and establish the subsidy amount required from the Universal Service Fund to facilitate closing the voice and data services gaps.”
Mobile telephone companies, radio and television stations and other ICT related firms are expected to contribute 0.5 per cent of their gross revenue towards the Universal Service Fund.
According to CA’s latest data, mobile phone service subscriptions stood at 32.8 million for the period July to September 2014 being the first quarter of financial year 2014/2015; translating to a mobile penetration rate of 80.5 per cent.
During the quarter under review, there were 14.8 million internet subscriptions while the postal and courier sub-sector grew by 17.9 per cent.
The number of postal outlets remained unchanged over the last four quarters. However, the number of courier outlets, which had stagnated for more than a year, improved significantly during the quarter to 788 outlets, from 707 outlets recorded in the previous quarter.
According to The Star, CA said in the notice, that the consultant will be expected to propose a strategy to address the identified communication gaps and the time it will take to do so.
The state agency faced various challenges for over two years prior to receiving the first contribution last year, the biggest being a disagreement with telecom operators over composition of the USF board.