An explanatory study on the determinants of internet access penetration in Kenya
Waithira, Matimu Nancy
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This study was undertaken using primary and secondary methods to provide gainful insight on those factors that have shaped Internet Access Penetration in Kenya and hence make conclusions on the determinants thereof. Internet Access is viewed as a key enabler for operational efficiency, economic growth, and knowledge dissemination world over. It has been the key driver for eliminating cross-border barriers and a catalyst for reducing knowledge asymmetry through the global village concept realization. The core objective was to establish the determinants of Internet Access in Kenya and how they have influenced market penetration with a view to providing an informed direction on priority areas of contribution and consideration by the academic community, policy makers and the business community respectively in achieving universal access objectives and business growth and profitability objectives. These determinants were organized along the following key themes; socioeconomic determinants (affordability, income levels, demographics, literacy levels), infrastructure (mobile subscriptions, electricity consumption and ICT goods imports) and regulatory factors (regulatory policy and competition). Other factors explored included speed of access, security and locally relevant content availability. The findings of the study showed that a strong positive linear relationship exists between number of Internet users and income levels, 15-65 years age set population, literacy levels, mobile subscriptions, electricity consumption and competition. They also showed that a positive linear relationship also exists between Internet users and ICT goods imports albeit weak. Affordability (price of Internet access) was found to have a strong negative linear relationship with the number of Internet users. The findings which were subjected to descriptive and inferential analysis concluded that the key factors that determine Internet access penetration in Kenya include income levels, affordability, mobile subscriptions and efficient competition arising from effective regulation. A regression model with a high predictive capability was also developed which suggests that 95% of Internet access penetration can be explained by income levels and mobile subscriptions.