Factors affecting last-mile internet connectivity in Kenya
There is a connectivity gap that exists between the backbone network and the last-mile access network in Kenya. This study sought to establish factors that are considered when choosing a last-mile solution; identify various types of internet last mile connectivity in Kenya; and to develop a conceptual model for selecting an internet “last mile” solution. This study used an exploratory descriptive approach. Primary and secondary data was collected from CCK, ISPs (16) and end users (24). The four factors cited as considerations for last mile connectivity included infrastructure, cost, breadth and depth, rules and regulations. These factors affect all the stakeholders. The various types of internet last mile connectivity in Kenya include the traditional LAN, analog modems, ISDN, DSL, fiber optics, Wireless networks, light waves, radio waves and satellite communication. A conceptual model for selecting an internet “last mile” solution should focus on the four important factors considered by all stakeholders namely infrastructure, cost, breadth and depth, as well as rules and regulations. A conceptual framework was developed out of the reviewed frameworks to guide the study. The framework incorporates three stakeholders of last mile connectivity namely the regulator, end users, and internet providers. This framework is different from others in that it has considered key stakeholders in the ICT sector in Kenya. This study recommends that the regulator (CCK) should encourage use of a variety of last mile solutions such as mobile phones through friendly rules and regulations. The regulator should also facilitate infrastructural development to enhance internet service providers’ operating environment. Internet providers should be innovative and add value to a variety of last mile solutions so that they can be attractive to the customers. ISPs should also provide cost friendly last mile solutions to Kenyan market. The end users should also consider other factors when choosing last mile solutions and not just cost.