Dear GKD Members, I got back from Kenya after serving there as a VSO  volunteer for a year. I was teaching IT in a womens college in a rural place called Tala. I also trained the staff on the more advanced subjects of the curriculum.
First, let me talk about the state of connectivity in the country. Connectivity in Kenya is pretty decent in the cities (Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Nakuru). Literacy in the country is pretty high. Many of the younger people in the 15-35 age group are becoming increasingly netsavvy in the cities. They browse the web in one of the numerous internet browsing centres and have a hotmail or yahoo mail account. Prices are competitive and range in the cities betwen 1 Kenyan Shilling to 5 Kenyan Shillings per minute (1 US$ =~ 70 KSh). ISPs charge somewhere in the range of 8000 KSh / year for unlimited activity. On top of this, dial-up users must pay applicable per-minute telcom charges. Even though there are many ISPs in the country and competition between them is fierce, there are two problems: 1. All traffic has to flow in and out of the country through the Kenya Telecom monopoly owned JamboNet . This creates a single point of failure and a bottleneck. 2. Only the bigger cities have local access / dial-up numbers. If someone is in not in one of these cities, they have to make a long distance / trunk call. The telcome per-minute charges on these vary depending on how far from a POP the user is. WAP is available on one (KenCell) of the two mobile phone providers. But, I have not seen it being used in the circles I moved in. There is a US AID funded effort to connect colleges and universities . Now, let me answer the specific questions > 1. What activities are endeavoring to bring connectivity to > under-served communities? I am not sure what other organized activities are being carried out in the country. I am aware of two - One that I worked on and another of similar scope . In my case, we got a subsidized 64k VSAT connection through UUNet. In addition to this connection being used by the students of the college, we also created a internet browsing center on campus for people from the community to use at a nominal fee. This enables the college to raise at least part of the cost of the internet connection. We also have a plan to set up a local wireless network to share the bandwidth with the surrounding community. There are many formal and vocational schools in the surrounding community that have expressed interest in this service. > 2. What are the goals of these efforts? To what extent are the goals > attained? The goal of this effort was to provide access to the relatively marginalized community of Tala. There is no connectivity in a 50-kilometer radius around this community. Part of the goal is income generation for the college as well as people using the wireless network. The lack of wireless networking equipment in Kenya hindered the achievement of the wireless network. At the moment I am working with another volunteer who is going to be going to Kenya in 2004. I intend to procude the equipment in the US and send it through the volunteer. > 3. Who is being served by these connectivity efforts? Are the benefits > widely distributed? Do some groups "win" and some "lose" in these > connectivity efforts? I believe that the effort benefits the community widely. The students get connectivity, the community piggy backs on the connection at a nominal fee. It, in fact, spurs business because a privately run cybercafe business can make quite a bit of money by using the wireless network bandwidth to provide internet access at a fee. > 4. How do connectivity efforts seek to ensure that all groups benefit? We involved the local town council, schools, parish and businesses early in our efforts. > 5. What are the costs and constraints these connectivity efforts face? A VSAT connection is prohibively expensive. Such projects can't work till it reaches a critical mass of people willing to work together and share costs in getting connected. Thaths  http://www.vso.org.uk/  http://www.telkom.co.ke/jambonetcontent1.htm  http://www.kenet.org/  Chinni Tu -- http://openscroll.org/ Key fingerprint = 8A 84 2E 67 10 9A 64 03 24 38 B6 AB 1B 6E 8C E4 ------------ This DOT-COM Discussion is funded by the dot-ORG USAID Cooperative Agreement, and hosted by GKD. http://www.dot-com-alliance.org provides more information. To post a message, send it to: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> To subscribe or unsubscribe, send a message to: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>. In the 1st line of the message type: subscribe gkd OR type: unsubscribe gkd For the GKD database, with past messages: http://www.GKDknowledge.org