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AFRIK-IT  October 1996

AFRIK-IT October 1996

Subject:

Kenya

From:

Jeff Cochrane <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Sat, 5 Oct 1996 01:44:55 -5

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (106 lines)

Greetings Afrik-ITers!

Now descending through 20,000 feet -- will have to stop typing when
the seat belt sign goes on...

Departed Kenya this morning after a very satisfying week that began
with a weekend in Naveru staring at lions ten feet away from our car.
 We didn't drive so close to the rhinos.  The horns seemed a bit too
large...  8*)

Here's a bit from my "trip report" to USAID that I hope you find
interesting.  I refer to the "AfricaLink Registry" which is available
at http://ventus.info.usaid.gov/africalink

Kenya Networking

Suzannie Drouilh of the East Africa Internet Association kindly
offered her services in arranging appointments with a number of
Internet service providers in Nairobi, as well as with members of
the Association itself.  Information was also gathered from other
sources.

A common theme expressed by almost all the service providers was a
need to liberalize further the telecommunications market in Kenya.
In particular, all would like to have the opportunity to employ VSAT
satellite services without passing through the national telecoms
authority, KPTC.  One service provider suggested that the
telecommunications regulatory body must be completely separated from
the KPTC, particularly with respect to arenas in which KPTC is a
service provider.

Another common theme was the need for greatly increased investments
in local human capital in the telecommunications sector.  Demand for
highly skilled technicians and systems administrators reportedly
outstrips supply.

Smaller service providers focused on somewhat different issues.  Of
concern is the US$5000 license fee now being charged by KPTC to all
service providers.  The smaller providers suggest this seems
designed to concentrate the industry in the hands of large corporate
organizations with international backing, eliminating smaller firms.
Elimination of the fees or a graduated fee schedule was urged.  They
argue that it is only the smaller service providers that can
effectively deliver services to rural and other neglected
populations.

Discussions with many service providers and several members of the
East Africa Internet Association focused on a local "hub".  A
consortium of service providers would jointly operate the hub with
an international link to the Internet.  The idea is of interest
particularly to smaller providers who cannot individually afford an
international leased line and the KPTC license fees.  Some argue
that the smaller providers will be forced out of the market unless
they are able to offer full-Internet services to at least some of
their customers.  At least one of the larger commercial operators
sees this as competition for a limited customer base, and objects to
any effort by donors to fund a hub.  One large service provider
intends to create a hub with leased lines for users as well as
resellers of Internet services.  While the hub concept seems to make
good economic sense, a framework for collaboration among service
providers has not been developed.

In discussions with all service providers, it was stressed that
USAID has a policy that precludes activities that would unfairly
affect private sector providers of services.  USAID can, however,
channel resources to its partners who require Internet services, who
have an interest in a vibrant telecommunications market with strong
competition.  One reason for publishing the AfricaLink Registry is
to assure that even small providers can be well informed about the
availability of USAID support of Internet access for its partners.

Persons Contacted

Internet Service Providers

Shem J. Ochuodho, Director, African Regional Centre for Computing
(ARCC)

Chris Lundh, Managing Director, Africa Online

Rob Sinclair, Co-Executive Director, Environment Liaison Centre
International

Benedicte Penda Marcilly, Environment Liaison Centre International

Max Trulenau, Computer Consultant, Negra Comm Enterprises

John Atchley, Thorn Tree Communication Systems

Ronald W. Nunn, Managing Director, Omega Micro Systems and
ThornTree

Yazim Nanji, Managing Director, Form-Net Africa

Fred ?, Healthnet

East Africa Internet Association

Suzanne Drouilh, member, East Africa Internet Association

Ben Parker, Interim President, East Africa Internet Association

AfricaLink -- http://www.info.usaid.gov/alnk
Tel 1-703-235-5415
Fax 1-703-235-3805

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