RS 2: Kenya

Rosy communications authority statistics mask the digital divide in Kenya

As much as the digital divide affects those in rural or lower income areas in the US, this division in internet access can also be seen in other countries around the world. To demonstrate this, I found an article by John Walubengo, who also lives in Kenya, entitled Rosy Communications Authority Statistics Mask the Digital Divide in Kenya. It was published September 4, 2018 to Daily Nation, an independent newspaper in Kenya with the highest circulation. Walubengo living in Kenya made him a primary source for experiencing the division firsthand. He starts the paper by noting the decreased quality of his technology when he had to travel to rural Kenya for a funeral, compared to the quality he’s used to by living in the city. This was because of a report from the ICT saying that “78 percent of Kenyans are actively using [the internet] – courtesy of the widespread availability of mobile internet signals across the country” (Walubengo, 2018). Overall, what the article found was that the quality of internet was very different based on what area someone was attempting to access the internet from. When it came to the quality, in reality to the initial claim the ICT gave, “3G signal is only available in 17 percent of the Kenyan land mass, compared with the 2G signal that covers 45 percent” (Walubengo, 2018). This means that while a lot of people ‘technically’ have access to internet, a good majority are using the version of the internet from about 15 years ago. This can even more detrimental when it comes to functions like online banking that may time out for security purposes. Because the internet runs so slowly, in some cases that will prevent the transaction from completing. Since banking is involved in so many daily actions, the article says the internet is considered a public service at this point and by having those in urban areas to have better quality, it becomes discriminatory. Walubengo ends by saying that while out in the rural are, there was access to power half the time, and when he did it wasn’t at full capacity. Since majority of Kenyans live in rural areas, he knows steps need to be taken to get rid of the digital divide that is present so more of Kenya is able to exist with the urban quality of internet.

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