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Kenya leads in internet access and connectivity in Africa, says Liquid Telcom
By TF News Reporter
Kenya is leading other African countries in internet connectivity with the highest bandwidth per person, says Internet provider Liquid Telecom Kenya CEO Ben Roberts.
He says the country enjoys the fastest Internet speeds and some of the lowest internet costs in the East African region.
“Investment in the continent’s connectivity is creating multiple benefits that Kenya demonstrates as a clear example of a virtuous circle, where each investment accelerates the next, with an ever increasing footprint of beneficiaries,” said Mr Roberts.
“Kenya has achieved a confluence of infrastructure and provision that has positioned it with the highest growth in internet take-up compared to income per capita in Africa.
It has effectively become an outlier in its internet take-up, and seen Nairobi join Johannesburg as one of Africa’s two regional internet hubs.”
Research commissioned by the Internet Society and published in May last year further found that East Africa offers the lowest internet costs on the continent, with Kenya the cheapest in the region.
In its report on ‘Lifting Barriers to Internet Development in Africa”, the Internet Society found that Kenya had outperformed in surmounting a series of infrastructure barriers to arrive at its now emerging internet leadership.
The country has more undersea cables than any other nation on the East African coast, with government support having been directed at increasing access and participation by more carriers.
The landing of the East African Submarine Cable System (EASSy), The East African Marine System (TEAMS), SEACOM and LION high-capacity submarine cables brought a 20-fold increase in international bandwidth in the country to 20Gbit per second.
Kenya also has more licensed international gateways than any other country in sub-Saharan Africa, now at 13, in total, according to the Internet Society.
The localization of internet connections through the Kenya Internet Exchange Point (KIXP) has also been critical to Kenya’s emerging internet leadership.
KIXP allows local internet users to interconnect locally, without traffic being pointed back to the US or Europe. The Kenyan exchange is now localizing more than 1Gbit/s of peak traffic, dramatically reducing latency from 200-600ms to 2-10ms on average, while allowing ISPs to save almost $1.5m per year on international connectivity, and to make revenue gains on increased internet usage - on faster speeds - of as much as $6m a year per operator.
In 2011, Google installed a Google Global Cache (GGC) in Kenya, retaining static content, such as YouTube videos, after it has been downloaded in Kenya, which has also had a significant impact on ISP traffic levels.
The Internet Society reported that the educational network, KENET, experienced a roughly ten-fold increase in Google usage, from 20Megabits per second to 200Megabits per second, after the cache was established, attributing the rise to better speeds.
Shifting content and routing to the local exchange has similarly impacted the mobile operators. According to an ‘Assessment of the Impact of Internet Exchange Points – Empirical Study of Kenya and Nigeria by the Internet Society’, one operator alone is seeing a revenue increase of just under $6,000,000 a year from the rise in locally routed Internet traffic.