Digital Migration; business opportunities

Now that the earlier post has addressed the background of whole digital migration, it is better to explore opportunities. It is good to care about public good but if there is a way to benefit, I say take it.

For background, a digitised signal can allow for up to ten TV channels (standard definition) to be broadcast, and a single analogue channel would require the whole frequency.

So, what are these opportunities?

1. Software development

One of the things that media owners will have to do is provide content in an encoded way and develop algorithms that can provide more space for the content. The developers will have to come up with innovative ways to squeeze more content within a single channel.

Payment of content will be per megabit and therefore the winners will be the companies that can squeeze more content within a smaller space (in simple terms) Western immigrants are probably ready with proposals and it would be nice if Kenyan developers are well versed with this technology and can provide the services. For instance, media owners will be looking for ways to utilize the bandwidth and pay less like in cases where  a TV broadcaster can decide to increase the compression and quality of most of its TV channels for a particular event, so as to make some extra space available for a bandwidth-hungry High Definition  broadcast of that specific occasion.

Because this is business, media owners will be looking for innovative ways to deliver with low operational expenses. If you can deliver this, then you are in business.

2. Content generators/distributors

I have argued in a previous post that content will be the winner. There will be companies whose business is to produce content e.g community theatres, schools, etc You have a choice to either distribute or sell this content or you can give it to another company to distribute it for you, think of the middle men.

For instance, we could decide as a village to produce a cooking show, then sell it to either the media houses or through an intermediary. It will depend on capital outlay and negotiation skills. If your core business is production, you can leave distribution to other companies that have sharks and vulture like characters to maximize the profits.

Remember, CCK says 60% has to be local content, where do you think the media will get this content? Lets get to work 🙂

3. Media personalities, owners etc

If one digital frequency can hold 10 standard channels, think of how many TV personalities and media owners we can have. There will be job opportunities and an expansion of the sector.

Some channels will be regurgitating old content but if you have unique content, you will have advertisers because the content will be hyperlocal and targeted. Even counties will need people to run their stations.

4. Digital Dividend allocations

The analogue frequencies will be allocated and if we are not careful, this will go to the old cartels. It is important to get on board with CCK discussions, yes, they take them to Karen where there are no Matatus but we got to try.

It will be important for CCK to set aside free frequencies for rural services and you will not be allocated if you were never part of it. Remember history is written by the victors and if you are not there, you may never know how allocation was done.

5. Renting old media masts

With digital transmission, media owners will have to decide if to sell the infrastructure as scarp metal or rent it out to others who may find alternative uses. If you can find a way to make use of these masts, start polishing proposals for later on in the year when the dust settles.


6. Pay per view services

With the available bandwidth, this would be a chance to target disgruntled DSTV and local TV viewers fed up with repeated content and cheap shows from South America, Asia and India. Yes, there will be still space for them but if you can target livestreaming of movies and TV shows, there is a market.

Look at what Able Wireless has done- they have affordable streaming service. CCK doesn’t require licensing for such services.


If you have any other ways to make money with digital migration, please share, those are the only ones I could think about.


Digital Migration, the boring details

For the last 15 years, Kenya’s broadcast sector has enjoyed the benefits of liberalization; in the old times, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation had the monopoly but that changed around 1999. Capital Fm was the first Fm station in 1995 or thereabouts but it was not until four years later that the industry blew up.

That was probably the other time that the media aggressively engaged with the Communications Commission of Kenya and the then Kenya Posts and Telecommunication. That engagement resulted in allocations of a wide variety of frequencies, FM, Wimax, etc. This point will come out better in the later arguments in this article.

This recent engagement has had public implication, and has therefore had the public more engaged in knowing who will win the battle of attrition. I think both the media owners and CCK/ government are holding their position to see who will tire faster or who has the ability to go to the last mile. My bet is that the media owners are backed to a corner and they will either have to comply or come to a compromise for more time.

I have had no chance to write on the topic, I have left it to the experts but I think I can also add my voice to it.

First let us get some background.

Why do we need to migrate?

In the early 2000’s or so, there were discussions within the ITU, the oldest UN body, on addressing the shrinking spectrum in developed countries. After discussions, a resolution was reached and the deadline was adopted in 2006 at a meeting referred to as the Regional Radio communications Conference (RRC-06), and agreed by 101 nations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. This resolution was heavily pushed by EU and North America because they faced the major pressure to free up airwave spectrum but in Africa, we don’t have a  strong consumer electronics industries or consumer markets that would have put such pressure. Remember the argument of spectrum hoarding and the threat by CCK to cancel allocations? Anyway, as happens in many meetings, African countries committed to the 2015 deadline.

Because not all countries are equal, an exception was made, for countries that felt they could not meet the deadline. They had five more years within which to put their house in order. Latin America decided to take 2020 as their deadline, because they had no particular pressure in that sector.

The ITU has already extended the deadline for 34 African countries and you can read a story I did in 2010. Some of those countries are: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Morocco, Mauritania, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, Togo, and Tunisia. The 2020 cut-off was also agreed for countries not at the 2006 conference: Benin, Central African Republic, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Madagascar, Niger, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone and Somalia.

So why is Kenya stuck to the 2015 deadline?

Kenya has a very big name within the ITU, wants to keep pace with Southern African countries, which have migrated, wants to keep the bragging rights as the ICT capital of Africa and for those who don’t know, the folks at CCK are rated very highly and are frequently elected to top ITU posts, which means good returns in whatever direction. So, in arguing about a 2020 deadline, you can scuttle many career trajectories.

This is also good for our business, which will be argued in part two of this post.

The issue of content interference…..

One of the main arguments by media owners is that their content can be interfered with because Signet is owned  by government and PANG is Chinese, which has exhibited its obsession with controlling what goes out to the public.

But is this the real reason?

Let us agree that if the government wanted to knock any content off air, whether private or public, they have the ability to do so. Read about the Indian government ban on news in community radio stations.

The best practice would have been to go the US way, where the media owners are also content distributors, so there was no change per se in the American case. Kenyan media owners had the chance to apply for a signal distribution license but they self destructed because they could not agree on which media house had to own what percentage, some of the media owners felt they were bigger because they had more money, while others thought they should own a majority shareholding because they had more stations. In the end, there was no desire to put in a winning tender.

Should we blame the CCK for not awarding a license of the basis of a non-compliant tender? We complain about these things but when they are applied to us, it seems unfair. I am not privy to who was in the tender committee, that wasn’t important, bottom-line was that the tender documents were flawed, according to those evaluating.

Why are media owners bitter?

The media owners feel bitter because they have made immense investments and now, they will have to look for other things to do with the passive infrastructure like masts, radios etc. My suggestion is that they should offer broadband services or lease them to companies in those areas that can offer internet services.

Currently, the media owners club is for those with money to pay for frequencies, lay the infrastructure and sustain it. This is a massive investment for the big boys and girls. Digital broadcasting will change all that and allow even people with small money to be media owners. This is not good for media owners, it is good for the rest of us.

Content the new competition

Now that infrastructure and big capital outlay is no longer the main competition point, content will have to be. People will be drawn to stations because they talk to them and address their needs. For instance, during the boycott by Royal Media, Nation and Standard groups, we had to watch K24. My mother is a Citizen fan but she had no idea why they were off air, she switched to the next station; K24. At that time, it was an agricultural show, where farmers share their experiences.

It was the first time that mum shushed us. There was a guy talking about strawberry farming and she wanted to learn one thing; how to deal with the insects and birds that had tormented her and her strawberries. She learnt that the home remedy was to mix charcoal remnants with the soil and put a net to protect the fruits. She was so impressed and said that every week, she will be tuning.

Now, its not a glamorous example but for that day, K24 won a new viewer because the content addressed my mother’s needs. Now, apply this to the many other areas that content has been lacking.

Part two…… Business opportunities.



M-PESA, Safaricom’s flagship has launched its online payment service. Lipa na M-PESA online is a new service that will allow local traders to accept online payments for the purchase and sale of goods and services.

Kenya has in recent times witnessed remarkable growth in online payments driven largely by the easy availability of high speed internet and an emerging middle class. The online payment space in Kenya has great potential, but industry experts say that lack of accessible and secure payment systems are hindering local uptake.

Lipa Na M-PESA online is part of M-PESA’s overall agenda to lead the evolution of the payments landscape in Kenya. The entry of M-PESA into the online space is a landmark move that will see more than 18 million M-PESA customers gain access to the online shopping experience either as entrepreneurs or as customers,” said Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore.

Launched in June this year, Lipa na m-pesa was developed by TangazoLetu  a Kenyan ICT company guided by Safaricom. This was after a gap analysis on Buy Goods identified a number of challenges, such as the settlement process, which was cumbersome for small merchants. TanagazoLetu enhanced the existing Buy Goods solution to make it easier to make settlements to the merchant and make it more attractive to the small merchants. A pilot project was done among Safaricom staff helped identify loopholes and seal them before the product was launched to the public.

This online service will leverage the deep penetration of the mobile phone and the proliferation of Internet services to ease the shopping experience for customers while allowing merchants to match their goods and services directly to consumers. An estimated 29.7 million Kenyans have mobile phones, while about 14.3 million have access to the internet.

This service comes in at a time when e-commerce continues to expand rapidly with the emergence of online shopping sites such as OLX, Rupu, Bid or Buy, Jumia, and Cheki.

How Lipa na M-PESA online works

Lipa Na M-PESA online provides customers a chance to purchase items online.Customers select the items they want to pay for and pay with Lipa Na M-PESA online at the checkout point. The total cost for the items purchased online is deducted from the customer’s M-PESA account. The customer only needs to key in their mobile number and they will receive a notification on their mobile phone to validate the transaction using their Bonga PIN.


Africa’s ICT in the next 12 months

As we wind up the year 2013 and look forward to 2014 we can only hope that better things lay in wait for us here in Africa and more so in our ICT development. Nevertheless, it is not always wise to leave things in the hands of fate and “how things will take us” perception and thus we have a few predictions for the ICT sector in the coming year hoping that other sectors follow suit…


Here we go:

Prediction 1:  Strong GDP growth plus high ICT spend and investment will still make Africa an attractive technology region in 2014 but users are more sophisticated and demanding and suppliers need to be more focused and relevant in the year ahead.

What is been said here is there are still many investment and growth runaways in Africa to show case your ICT muscles, suppliers need to give us some “wow!” and “OMG” moments.

Clients express a preference for providers with solid track records and continued local presence. Service providers will have to display solid long-term strategies and commitment to African markets in order to gain confidence and increased market share in 2014 and beyond.

Prediction 2:   – “Keyboard ready” IT Skills in high demand but short supply: academia and commerce meet minds in 2014

I am certain that you my reader might have come across a list of the “best-paying” or “high demand” degrees…if you haven’t let me give you one – ICT knowledge and skills!

In 2014 commercial enterprises, government and academic institutions will work together to produce “keyboard-ready” graduates and young-professionals. African CIOs believe that IT staffing shortage will result in increased dependency on IT service companies (60.00 percent), delayed projects (47.69 percent), and decreased adoption of new and innovative technologies (41.54 percent) (source: IDC’s 2013 African CIO Summit).

Keeping in mind that the ability to drive innovation internally in an efficient and timely manner has become a key factor of success for companies operating in the increasingly competitive African markets, IDC believes that African companies will increasingly include addressing the IT skills challenge as a part of their growth strategy.

Prediction 3: Always something new from Africa:  innovation is the name of the game

Back home (Kenya), we have sung the m-pesa song for long enough even a new born is a registered user! Now it’s time to get something else to sing about.

IDC global research indicates that by 2020, 80 percent of the industry’s growth and innovation will be driven by 3rd platform technologies, such as mobility, cloud, social business and big data & analytics. Interestingly, African companies are adopting these newer technologies at a rapid pace, which gives them the right tools to come up with new and innovative business models, services or processes.


The rest of the predictions are self explanatory read on to see what will happen…

Prediction 4: Government Focus on development of sustainable ICT sectors shifts into high gear and 2014 will see governments across the region re-examine or initiate policies regarding ICT sector development as a driver for economic growth.

Governments across the region will promote the creation and development of domestic high tech sectors that will stimulate economic development, provide employment and drive regional growth and investment.  Traditionally, technology startups in Africa have faced a host of significant challenges to get themselves up-and-running, ranging from limited availability of venture financing, an immature regulatory environment, poor access to regional and global markets, and a shortage of ICT skills among staff.

However, national governments, in cooperation with international developmental agencies, academia, and ICT vendors, in countries such as Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa, and Nigeria, signal that there will be significant changes to this present-day reality.

Prediction 5: Hustle is the bustle in African ICT – in the coming year business models based on mobility, Internet and cloud will quickly grow but local constraints will cause this to be in fits and starts and regional pockets.

The key premise of IDC’s worldwide ICT predictions is that the most important events in 2014 will continue to cluster around what IDC calls the ―3rd Platform for IT growth and innovation, built on mobile devices, cloud services, social technologies and Big Data analytics. Mobile technologies in particular are seeing rapid adoption, with mobile enterprise applications a leading priority for investment in apps, tools & technology, in Africa and particularly in South Africa. Source: IDC’s 2013 African CIO Summit

Prediction 6:  Undersea Bandwidth is done – now for the terrestrial network –  ICT infrastructure development across the continent accelerates in 2014 as collaboration between private and public improves, demand for access grows and competition heats up.  Alternative technologies including satellite and radio come to the fore in a new guise and the regulatory environment gets focused on spectrum allocation.

IDC expects the focus of terrestrial fiber rollouts in Africa to change in 2014 – FTTx will become an emerging reality in the region

The arrival of undersea cables over the past 5 years has increased bandwidth, lowered the cost of internet and consequently increased internet penetration in Africa.

Convergence is one outcome of the increased bandwidth. The arrival of submarine cables, the accompanying terrestrial fiber expansions, and decreases in the cost of smartphones have prompted telecom operators to focus on boosting data revenues.

Prediction 7: African Content creation ignites the local digital media industry – 2014 will see the African digital Media sector grow as demand from locally produced content accelerates.    IDC expects 2014 to be the year of awakening for the African digital media industry driven by strong demand for content. The strong growth in mobile data usage and Smart phones as well as advancement in communications infrastructure acts as the catalysts to this trend. The number of mobile connections in the three major Sub Saharan countries, South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, is expected to grow 28.2 percent in 2014 to reach 55.8 million.


Prediction 8:  Governance and Compliance drive adoption of data analytics in Banking, O&G, and Telco and Government sectors.

In 2014 governments, banks, telcos and the Energy sector will adopt data analytics to improve efficiency, regulate effectively, reduce corruption and comply internationally. Governance and complying with regulations is one among the major challenges CIOs in Africa face as indicated by 40 percent of the CIOs in IDC’s Africa CIO Summit survey. In 2013, South Africa passed the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Bill which is expected to have a significant impact on the manner in which organizations process personal information, significantly affecting banking, government and telecom sectors.

While similar initiatives are already underway in Nigeria (Personal Information and Data Protection Bill) and Kenya (Data Protection Bill 2013, The Kenya Information and Communications (Amendment) Bill, 2013), the increasing GRC requirements coupled to growing reliance on ICT systems and processes are expected to result in other countries in the region to follow suit.

Prediction 9: Citizen Focused Services accelerate African government ICT investment – 2014 will see governments take advantage of mobile, data centre and Internet based platforms to speed delivery of services to citizens and between departments while improving transparency and governance.  Government entities will prioritize ICT spending on various electronic service delivery initiatives that “situate the citizen at the center”. This will likely involve the expansion of existing service channels such as physical service centers, call centers, or web portals for self-service. Alongside these, IDC also expects a greater push towards mobile enablement of government services to take place.

Prediction 10:  Security concerns grow as mobile devices, data and access methods proliferate. Africa joins the world in 2014 as cybercrime makes its presence felt and forces public and private institutions to collaborate to face the threat.

Data protection is becoming more important across Africa with new laws having been passed in South Africa, and under consideration in Kenya and Tanzania. Ghana has already passed legislation in this regard. Nigeria, Uganda, Botswana, and other countries are also considering data protection legislation in the near future.

An increase in security breaches will require security vendors, enterprises, and governments to work together to combat cybercrime. It will become increasingly important to join forces and establish partnerships in order to combat cybercriminals more effectively. For instance, South Africa’s National Cyber Security Advisory Council includes academic, public and private sector stakeholders.

Prediction 11:  Crowdsourcing on the rise: many government mobile services will be created by in-country online communities 2014 – 2014 will see significant increases in community creation of mobile and internet based applications and services as ways are found to quickly bring required services to market.

Accordingly, IDC predicts that 2014 will see a significant increase in community-led creation of government-related mobile applications. The low marginal cost of crowdsourcing will make this market- driven mechanism a much more efficient way to quickly bring required such applications to market.

Within the African continent, Kenya is likely to be a hotbed for this trend. The country already has a legacy of citizen involvement in the development of various government applications.


There you have them, Africa’s 2014 ICT predictions!

CCK reviews digital broadcast signal distribution charges downwards

The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) has reviewed downwards tariffs for digital signal distribution in a move to facilitate a smooth migration from analogue to digital television broadcasting in the country.

According to Determination No. 1 of 2013 on Cost-Based Terrestrial Digital Broadcast Signal Distribution Tariff, Digital Signal Distributors shall charge broadcasters (also known as Content Service Providers) at KES. 125,990 per Megabit for Nairobi and KES.93,202.75 per Megabit for other sites in Kenya.

The new tariffs took effect from yesterday.

Before the review, the Pan-Africa Network Group (PANG) had proposed to charge broadcasters a monthly signal distribution fee of KES 1,135,312.50 per channel in Nairobi. On the hand, SIGNET which is owned by Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC)  had proposed to charge KES 248,141 per mega bit (Mbit) for signal distribution services within Nairobi.

For other sites in Kenya, SIGNET had proposed to charge a uniform signal distribution fee of KES248,141.45 per mega bit, while PANG had proposed to charge a flat monthly fee of KES.378,437.50 for signal distribution services in Mombasa, Kisumu, Nyeri, Eldoret, Kakamega, Kisii and Meru.  For Malindi, Webuye, Garissa, Narok, Kericho, Isiolo, Kitale, Bungoma, Embu, Voi and other regions. PANG had proposed to charge broadcasters a flat monthly fee of KES.126,145.83

In the determination, CCK further requires the two Digital Signal Distributors – PANG and SIGNET, to publish a Reference Offer three months from now to ensure access, transparency and non-discrimination on the terrestrial signal distribution platform.

According to the determination, digital signal distributors are also expected to prepare separate accounts for each commercial subsidiary including the appropriate allocation of central overheads within six months from now.

CCK consulted signal distributors before arriving at the afore-cited tariffs.


Do Venture Capitalists, Angel investors, favor whites in Africa

Over the years, I have had a chance to hear many people talk; some brilliant some not, I have listened and interviewed people with start up ideas and growing businesses and the struggle to break to the next level. In that period you listen to people and you can tell those committed and those not, those going places and those just waiting time.

Until very recently (in Kenya at least) starting a business meant using your savings and shoe stringing, pooling money with friends and getting money from family members to start and sustain your business.

Financing your business through Venture Capital and Angel Investments came into fashion in Africa tech three years ago. The starting of the tech spaces brought together some Western immigrants with idle money, others without, some educated, others not.

I remember attending a meeting about rising Kenyan tech companies and in a room of about 20, there were only two black women and a black man. Others were western immigrants running companies in Kenya and the going conversation was that they had sufficient money and all they needed were ideas.

The best part is that even my fellow woman noticed the trend and wondered if there were no Africans in tech doing good stuff. Believe me when I say that all those ideas sounded sexy, but had no was of making money or breaking even in the next five years.

We wondered if such enterprises were being run by black people, would they get attention from a giant multinational with bottomless financing capability? It led me to ask; is VC funding inherently racist?

Get me right, at times people feel comfortable with people they know or know where they can get them from if everything went south. Maybe thats what is used to justify tribalism.

I have heard stories of one company getting VC funding and a relationship is established. The company is then sort of made the local contact person and the go-to person in determining whether the VC invests in local companies. The story goes like; anytime the VC made enquiries and the company was headed by local chaps, the local contact would discredit the company and dissuade the VC from funding but you can guess what happens when the reverse is the case.




I talked to a bunch of people on the race specific question. These are some Kenyans running tech companies and have had experiences with international VCs. I know I can be unhinged but the comments I got were very honest and sad.

For a more tempered news article, you can read this article on how business challenges hinder VC funding and can continue to the comments below.

Here are the comments I got to the question- is there any connection between VC funding and race? Do whites find it easier to raise funds?

From personal and painful experience the black man is at the bottom of the foodpile when it comes to EVERYTHING – venture capital, prospecting, sales, costing …

I think the only person who’d have it harder is a black woman

—- @roomthinker

It’s more about your network and access than it is about your skin color.  Many Kenyans who are grads from Stanford or Harvard have an easier time raising funds than an mzungu who didn’t go there.

— @whiteafrican

Its a 50-50 thing. Race matters when you are playing in some mission critical fields and very few people want a black dude driving a mission critical boat, but race is also waning as money diversifies and networks grow and the number of black investors increase and white investors realise that there are some mad skills with black people too.

—- @kahenya

It depends. looking at Fanisi, TBL, Aureos, Savannah, Fusion Capital investments and you will realize that the majority of ivestees are black/notwhite

—- @agostal

I loved @69mb’s quote below, its probably the evidence you would ask for.

Race as a factor and should not be understated. Even with equal networks and access, the mzungu will have an easier time fund raising.  
Angani’s experience is a case in point:
The Angani team comprises of:
* Myself with experience in building and managing large mission critical systems for small, educational, large and non profit organizations.
* Phares who helped build the VMware market in the region
* A Cambridge PHD who wrote parts of Xen, a core virtualization technology used by the likes of Amazon.
* A reseller who has a *very* successful business offering virtualization and storage solutions to corporates. 
* And a couple other people with equally good track records. 
Yet, we have been told we know nothing about building clouds. Literally. 
Come in a western entrepreneur 
* No team.
* No experience. 
* Not very technically astute. 
* No network/access. 
Yet, he approaches the same individuals and they are more receptive.
We have also experienced the other side of the same coin. We have been told by respected local business leaders in tech, to leave Infrastructure to the likes of Amazon and Google. That it is too difficult and we should focus on apps(mVitus) instead.
— @69mb
I know there are some people who say that you got to believe in your self that the system hasn’t been gamed. But what if it is what it is? Its either networks or people prefer to give money to their own colour even when the ideas are shitty.
I am sure very soon we will have some enterprising people who can help clinch a deal if all what people is the skin colour.
Liko also made a very nice argument that money is not the only thing that makes a company. But I wondered if he had attended some of the start up pitching events where  people look for VC funding even for projects they can shoe string. Its that phase where looking for money and investments is vital.
I am sure there are also black people who have received funding just because they are black 🙂 🙂
🙂 🙂

CCK puts plans underway for Kenic dissolution, 5th CEO in six years fired

It seems that any CEO who takes over at Kenic will have to budget for a year tops, thats sad but true. If you do not have background on Kenic, the .ke registrar and its shenanigans, you can read most of the stuff here.

Earlier this month, Kenic fired Anthony Wambugu, the CEO who took over about a year ago. I tried to ask the reasons why he was fired and I must say that I cant publish them without appearing to be hitting below the belt. The reasons are founded, because when I asked Anthony he alluded there was an element of truth but they are also very personal. They are the kind that someone is fired and no one wants to talk about it.

So, What is wrong with Kenic?

There is nothing wrong with Kenic, it had turnover of Ksh 30m last year and this year the numbers have surpassed Ksh 35 million. Given that they fired the “expensive” employees and replaced them with cheaper, more affordable ones, you can imagine the profits.

The problem is with the Communications Commission of Kenya, they want to control everything, and the areas you want them to control, they don’t, think about it, we have been demanding better service from mobile and internet service providers, what does CCK do, they are busy traveling from one hotel to another and issuing press releases on how they now want everyone to host their sites locally (you can insert your own expletive or other word here) and wonder what business they have dictating where you  host. You can read more about how CCK wants more sites hosted locally and then after you are done you can read this post I did last year of CCK hosting its site abroad.

Maybe the reasons are unfounded, CCK has the public interest at heart in wanting to depart from international standards and license a top level domain registrar, to do that, you have to first kill Kenic as it is today, no matter how profitable it is, because we must know who is the boss. You can read an article I did on the dissolution of Kenic  and another one explaining the process they would have to go through at ICANN and IANA to change both the administrative and technical contact, you can read this article that delves into the history on Kenic.

The Katundu factor

Michael Katundu is probably the oldest board member at Kenic and for some reason he seems to either be the scapegoat or the source of  all the mess at Kenic. You talk to people and they point at him.

My question, how about the other board members, are they marionettes, puppets or members of an orchestra out to follow directives from Katundu. From the website, they still identify Anthony Wambugu as the CEO.

Seriously, look at the list of board members, can they all be acting at the behest of one man?

The current Board members and their representative organizations, are:

  • Dr. Jimmy Macharia – Kenya Education Network (KENET) -Chairperson
  • Kris Senanu – Telecommunications Services Providers Association of Kenya (TESPOK) – Vice-Chairperson
  • Michael Katundu – Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK)
  • Francis Wangusi -Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK)
  • Rose Maghas – Domain Registrars Association of Kenya (DRAKE)
  • Charles Nduati – Kenya Private Sector Association (KEPSA)
  • Abraham Ondeng – Ministry of Information and Communication (MOIC)
  • Anthony Wambugu- CEO Kenya Network Information Center(KeNIC)

Now, I may not know much about the goings on at Kenic but, something doesn’t add up. Let us wait and see what policy fall in place.


Digital Migration: How Far are We?

The long awaited digital migration deadline is drawing nearer and attracting varying offers from different manufacturers. However, the migration may remain a dream for longer than we anticipate following three mainstream media houses Royal Media Services, Nation Media Group and Standard Group move to court over licenses whereas the digital migration may be moved to June 2014!

To explore further on the subject we spoke to Meredith Beal Business Development Manager, Africa Media Initiative, Kenya who also works with the African Media Mission Earth and Medina in the USA.

What is your experience working in the digital migration in the USA?

During the transition in the US from 2008 to 2009 I was involved in the TV side in terms of engineering and public awareness campaigns. I was also a member of the Texas association broadcaster working with the Federal communication commission which is equivalent to the CCK here helping them with worldwide issues.  Each household was entitled to a voucher and subsidized purchase of the boxes but we had some problem with that because when they first released the boxes the expiring date was 90 days after the vouchers were mailed sometimes people would receive their voucher go to the retailer and the boxes were not yet there and by the time the boxes reach the retailer their vouchers have already expired.


Kenya tea industry transforms to paperless transactions with the launch of online portal

Key sectors in the country are going digital in the delivery of their services. The most recent one is the tea industry under the agriculture sector. Tea Board of Kenya (TBK) and Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) have launched an online portal that will enable tea industry stakeholders interact with their regulator TBK online. 

The online portal has automated TBK’s processes, making them available electronically. This new development is expected to reduce transaction time, increase efficiency in service delivery and reduce the overall cost of doing business.READ MORE

Joint Statement by Kenyan Mobile Operators regarding threats of arrest of their CEOs



Following the announcement of ICT CABINET Secretary Fred Matiang’i threatening CEOs of the four mobile phone service providers with arrest over unregistered SIM card, the CEOs have responded in a press briefing this afternoon at the Norfolk Hotel Nairobi.

The four, Bob Collymore – CEO, Safaricom, Shivan Bhargava – Managing Director , Bharti Airtel Kenya, Mickael Ghossein – CEO, Orange Kenya and Madhur Taneja – CEO, Essar Kenya confirmed that they received communication from the Criminal Investigations Department of the Kenya Police Service requiring them to appear before CID officials to provide information with respect to SIM registration to which they were giving full cooperation.

“We are also aware of media reports that the Ministry of Information and Communications through the Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) has directed the Kenya Police Service to pursue criminal proceedings against the CEOs of the respective organizations. We wish to inform the general public that since the publication of the SIM registration regulations in January of 2013, the mobile operators continue to maintain and update a registered subscriber base of over 30 million mobile phone users.We have gone over and above what is required by law by adhering to international standards of mobile systems security. We have also invested heavily in our endeavor to provide a convenient, widely available and secure communications infrastructure to serve the Kenyan population.” Their press statement read.

The four mobile operators also said they are fully aware of their role in safeguarding the integrity of their systems and the infrastructure that has become integral to the economic and social security of Kenya and its people.

They assured the public and the Government of full compliance with the law and working together with the various regulators and law enforcement agencies in the execution of their public duty.

In their closing remarks, they expressed displeasure at the sensational manner in which the issue was handled pointing out that as licensed operators, they maintain a daily engagement with regulators and are always available for open dialogue.