Skip to main content

Save Africa from monopolistic content vendors

The arrival in 2009 of international submarine fibre optic data links to East Africa is anticipated to catalyse a digital revolution in the region. For a long time access to any international digital content has been expensively dependent on satellite solution providers. With the drastic fall of internet bandwith costs already implemented by some of the terrestrial digital infrastructure providers like KDN, Kenyans and East Africans in general are in for completely overhauled digital content industry.

So significant was the anticipated change in content delivery that the Kenya ICT Board and individuals like Dr. Bitange Ndemo were aggressively evangelizing Kenyan youth and entrepreneurs to indulge en masse in the digital content generation industry.  The noble campaign to make Kenyans bridge their international content exchange deficit may also have had a side effect of forgetting to address some of the long standing content importation challenges.  A majority of Kenyans continue to pay dearly for their expensive content importation habits such as fanatically following the English Premier League (EPL).  

English Premier League matches appear to be only available through the traditional satellite TV channel currently a monopoly of the South African Multichoice DSTV.  So valuable is the football and sports to Kenyans that many of us pay USD 73 per month to pay for the appropriate DSTV package. The monthly rate is interestingly in dollars or at a Multichoice.za prescribed Ksh/dollar rate of Ksh 78.  For now I need not go into the tribulations that Kenyans have to persevere, inflicted by DSTV’s monopolistic tendencies – that’s for another day.  Needless to say, a good number of Kenyans live on less than USD 30 a month.

I presume subscriptions to international digital content delivered through satellite are exorbitantly priced, inevitably because of the cost of maintaining the expensive satellite links. I shall also presume that the same digital content services can be delivered via our new international optic fibre gateways. I should finally be allowed to assume that it is time for Kenyans to seek delivery of ‘essential’ international content such as live English premier league games through the new fibre optic gateways. The issue of limits in bandwidth capacity and redundancy should not be an issue any more, having SEACOM and TEAMS already live in 2009 and EASSY becoming live in mid 2010.

I shall begin my appeals for 2010 by urging Kenyans to actively participate in leveraging our own football content (away from the current troubled state).  I am also appealing to the ICT ministry to proactively pursue and support the use of the expensively acquired international optic fibre links to deliver the all important EPL content to Kenyans. Lastly I am appealing to the EPL itself to desist from perpetuating tendencies of monopolistic multinationals; for instance selling 100% broadcast rights to a singular entity.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Kenya's top 20 towns on Facebook

Social media giant, Facebook estimates that there are 4 to 4.5 million Kenyans who are its monthly active users. Facebook usage patterns in Kenya are arguably strong indicators of the country’s internet connectivity patterns. Over 60% of Kenyans (2.5 - 3 million) accessing facebook at least once a month are based in Nairobi.  This is very telling especially as Kenya's second internet exchange point in Mombasa struggles to make business sense due to having too few users.

I used the Facebook audience insights tool to rank Kenyan cities and towns according to their monthly active users on Facebook. Below are the top 20 cities and towns in Kenya as at 9th June 2015. Rank City / Town Facebook Monthly Active People % of Kenya Facebook Monthly Active People 1 Nairobi 2.5m - 3m 60.0% 2 Mombasa 300K - 350K 8.0% 3

M-PESA Fraud - Agents Beware!

Tricksters and dishonest people have always existed in our midst.  It is definitely naive to imagine that our new techno-savvy way of life is an exception to the age old social patterns. This afternoon, an M-PESA agent was a victim of a new line of M-PESA fraud.

Here goes the story; this is factual and occurred on February 1st 2010 in a peri-urban setting about 24 kilometres from the Nairobi City Centre
About 2.00PM, a lady and a gentleman who looked to be in their mid twenties visited an M-PESA outlet, claiming to be Safaricom supervisors. The two wore valid looking M-PESA badges and even carried M-PESA promotional material for the outlet.  The two inspected the outlet’s log books then left. Note: It is normal for Safaricom to send supervisors to routinely inspect various parameters on operations of M-PESA outlets. The supervisors usually wear Safaricom badges and often take with them M-PESA promotional material to the outletsAbout 20 minutes after the purported supervisors left, an ol…

The Top 10 agricuture Facebook groups in Kenya

There is serious agriculture going on in Facebook. At least among Kenyan farmers, there is those that have found Facebook as the place to research and gather knowledge for application in their agricultural related ventures. Others are finding prices of inputs and produce on Facebook groups. Can one be practicing agriculture on Facebook? I think research and access to relevant knowledge for application in one’s agricultural venture is part and parcel of the venture’s activities; hence there can be agricultural practice on Facebook. I think this is one aspect of information technology driven innovation that Agriculture is facing in emerging economies. As I once wrote earlier last year, these innovations may just matter.
Here is my list of the top 10 Facebook Groups covering agricultural interests that involve Kenyans by membership size.

Rank Facebook Group Name Size of membership (March 13th,  2015) 1 Farming Kenya 34,360 2 Digital Farmers Kenya 20,719 3 Poultry Farming 14,466