Would you rather miss a meal in order to access internet? That question is absurd as it is but try asking yourself how far you go in order to have sufficient data bundles to keep tabs on your current affairs. According to a report by International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Kenyans spend almost half of their average income to sustain internet access.
The question of how much money you cut off from your monthly income for internet has probably never crossed Kenya’s digital generation that has earned Kenya the titles; Twitter and Facebook capital of Africa. Our telecommunications companies have probably wooed us to their services wholly enough to believe data packages offered are the best there can be. With so many advertisements running across different media platforms, we have become a convinced nation that our rates are economy friendly even though that is all we can do.
ITU statistics 2014 rank Kenya at 146 out of 165 economies in terms of providing affordable broadband internet access rates. If Kenya has sufficient fibre cable connection, we would be telling a different story. Since we are largely on mobile internet services, access will continue to take a lot from our pockets.
In terms of mobile internet connectivity, Uganda is way ahead of Kenyans who rank at 111 out of 150 listed economies with ‘Wanjiku’ using almost 8 per cent of her monthly income to purchase only 500MBs, Which is the least we can look at considering we may be using more than that. If 8 per cent sounds okay, how about comparing that to Nigerians’ 5.6 per cent and South Africans’ 2.7 per cent? In the sense that we are equally or almost as developed, the difference shows how disadvantaged we are.
Solution for a cheaper internet access
Well, according to Kenya’s ICT Authority, Kenyans will as soon as this year have access to affordable high speed internet as service providers join in the installation of fibre optic cables in the last phase of National Optic Fibre Backbone initiative.
The $72 million worth project, civil works for the second phase are complete in which the laying of cables will cover the entire country by the end of this year. The move will oversee a dramatic drop in internet prices probably by 20 per cent. The government aims to help ISPs who should in turn lower their prices to their customers.
Both Uganda and Tanzania will also join in the third phase later this year in expansion of the One Network Area initiative.
The internet is expected to offer speeds of upto 400 gigabits per second from 10 gigabits. Kenyans will definitely get value for their money at last after a long era of inflated internet prices.