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Confusion as evangelists, sceptics and pragmatists debate blockchain technology

CAKDAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Wednesday March 14, 2018

We have occasionally discussed blockchain technology in this column over the past two years, with the most recent discussion being published in January this year.

What is surprising is that the more we talk about blockchain and cryptocurrencies (cryptos), the more confusion it brings to the debate. I have identified three groups of people or positions that arise whenever this discussion crops up.

The first group is the evangelists. This group imagines that blockchain and cryptos are the solution to every problem in the world. They spread and force the gospel of blockchain and cryptos to everyone, including those not bothered to listen.

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Telkom to get Sh4bn for network upgrade

telkomDAILY NATION BY MUTHOKI MUMO

Monday March 05,2018

Telkom Kenya is set to receive a Sh4.1 billion ($40 million) loan from the European Investment Bank to boost infrastructure and mobile money network.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) said the loan, which is still going through appraisal, will only form part of the funding for Telkom Kenya’s Sh9.34 billion ($92 billion) network expansion project.

“The promoter [Telkom Kenya] will invest in its mobile network to improve its coverage and quality of services, especially for mobile services, and will launch an open eco-system mobile financial service product,” says EIB in a disclosure statement.

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CA proposes tariff reduction for M-Pesa across networks

CAKDAILY NATION By JACQUELINE KUBANIA

TUESDAY FEBRUARY 20 2018

Popular mobile money transfer platform M-Pesa may soon become cheaper for non-Safaricom users if new proposals by a consultant hired by the Communications Authority of Kenya are effected.

Analysys Mason, a UK consultant appointed two years ago to assess competition in the telecoms sector, also recommends that Safaricom stops on-net discounts and individually tailored loyalty schemes so as to reduce the barriers to entry for smaller players.

COMPETITION

The consultant has however shelved a contentious proposal to split Safaricom and M-Pesa in order to reduce Safaricom’s competitive advantage in the mobile money transfer market.

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We should proceed with caution on the cybercrimes bill

cybercrime2DAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Friday February 16th 2018

The Computer and Cybercrimes Bill of 2017 is before Parliament and undergoing public consultations. Whereas it does contain contentious clauses, we must be careful not to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

This is because the Cybercrimes Bill is one of the four pending bills that are required to usher in a true digital economy for Kenya. The other three are the Data Protection Act, the Electronic Transactions Act and the Copyright Act.

As the country gets more and more digitised, new forms of threats and crimes emerge. These crimes present challenges to the authorities in terms of investigations, prosecution and judicial adjudication, since the old legal frameworks do not adequately apply.

A legal framework covering crimes against and using computer systems is therefore a welcome development and would go a long way in making Kenya a safer place.

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An unpredictable governance framework will have a chilling effect on the ICT sector

CAKDAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Wednesday February, 07, 2018

Last week we had three little tsunamis sweeping the ICT sector. Three events, all centred on the communications regulator, are likely to have far-reaching ramifications going forward.

The first was that the embattled director-general of the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) obtained a court order rescinding a decision to send him home on compulsory leave pending some human resources-related investigations.

It is not the first time that the CEO of the CA has been sent home unceremoniously, but it was the first time that a court has ordered his reinstatement – and that court order was ignored.

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Involve consumers in ICT reforms

Joe Mucheru2DAILY NATION By KING'ORI CHOTO

Thursday February 01, 2018

Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru recently announced plans to launch money transfer services across mobile networks.

This implies that consumers will in the near future enjoy seamless money transfer services across mobile platforms.

The move is long overdue, given the phenomenal growth of mobile money services in recent years. 

JOBS
Wallet-to-wallet interoperability, as it is known, can be simply explained as money transfers from provider to provider without having to first withdraw cash from one platform to send on another.

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Artificial Intelligence will be the next revolution. Are we ready for it?

serverDAILY NATION By LUIS FRANCESCHI

Wednesday January 30, 2018

Last week, Melinda Gates and Strive Masiyiwa spoke in Nairobi about their latest initiative, the Pathways for Prosperity Commission on Technology and Inclusive Development.

These top billionaires aim to bring together “diverse voices and perspectives to map the potential impacts of technology on jobs in developing countries and come up with practical proposals.”

On Friday, January 26, Masiyiwa toured the Strathmore campus. As our conversation got more and more engaging, we came to the Policy Innovation Centre, a high-tech arbitration room sponsored by Microsoft, where exciting arbitrations, policy discussions and law drafting is taking place.

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Puzzle of CA’s conflicting data on quality of telcos’ services

CAKBusiness Daily By MUTHOKI MUMO

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2018 

The communications sector regulator has released conflicting data on the quality of telecoms services, raising questions about the integrity and reliability of its statistics.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) last week released its Quality of Service (QoS) report for the year ended June 2016, contradicting data in its 2015/16 annual report covering the same period and subject matter.

The net effect of the differences is that scores for all the operators improved significantly.

While the CA in its annual report said Safaricom , Airtel and Telkom Kenya had scored an overall 50 per cent in QoS, the latest data shows the three telcos had an average score of 70.8 per cent.

In both reports, the operators failed to meet the overall pass mark of 80 per cent.

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Video-on-demand spurs rise in fibre Internet users

Fibre-opticDAILY NATION By MUTHOKI MUMO

Monday January 8, 2018

Fibre-optic Internet subscriptions nearly tripled in the year through last September, reflecting the aggressive investments in expanding connections to Kenyan homes.

Data from the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) shows that there were 90,534 fibre subscriptions at the end of September in comparison to the 33,269 recorded at the end of September 2016.

While this figure is comprehensive of both fibre-to-the-home and fibre-to-the-office, there has been a flurry of activity over the last one year as companies compete to connect residential properties.

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Key ICT influencers for 2018

ICTDAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Wednesday January 3, 2018

The year 2017 is over and done with. I often review the key ICT events of the previous year but this time I want to flip this around and instead highlight key global events that will shape the local Kenyan ICT scene in 2018.

One such event happened last month when the US communication regulator, the Federal Communication Commission, revoked what is known as Net Neutrality rules instituted during the Obama administration.

Proponents of Net Neutrality advance the view that the internet should remain open, non-discriminatory and decentralised.

In other words, all internet traffic should be treated equally and so telco providers or ISPs should not discriminate or filter user traffic based on source, content or destination.

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CA loses Sh2bn licence row with Airtel

CAKDAILY NATION By ABIUD OCHIENG

Tuesday December 19, 2017

Telecoms operator Airtel Kenya Monday got a big boost in its battles with the regulator after the court stopped the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) from demanding Sh2.06 billion in licence renewal fees.

High Court judge George Odunga also stopped the CA from enforcing a decision it made and communicated to Airtel demanding  $20.025 million (Sh2.06 billion) from the Indian firm as a precondition to the issuance of Airtel’s radio frequency spectrum and operating licences.

“An order is hereby issued quashing the CA’s decision contained in the letter dated June 23, and July 25, 2017 demanding the sum of $20.025 million (Sh2.06 billion) from Airtel as alleged radio frequency spectrum fees within 14 days from the date of receipt,” Justice Odunga said.

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Safaricom bets on voice identity to rein in fraud

mpesaDAILY NATION By ANNIE NJANJA

Tuesday December 12, 2017

Listed telco Safaricom #ticker:SCOM has introduced voice biometric system aimed at reducing fraud and helping its customers to reduce cases of identity theft.

The system, dubbed Jitambulishe, will allow customers to access Safaricom services such as resetting M-Pesa PIN and PUK requests through a faster and less intrusive vetting process.

The system aims to cut down the number of steps a customer goes through before they are assisted, significantly reducing time spent while seeking customer services.

 A pre-recorded registration process will be done by the telco to make the feature functional.

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‘Digital natives’ to lead in the next boom

e-paymentDAILY NATION By TONNY TUGEE

Wednesday November 29, 2017

Information and communications technology is driving an entrepreneurial boom in Kenya, and it is youth at the forefront of creating new businesses.

Young entrepreneurs such as Jacob Otieno, the founder of Tablets for Schools, and Danson Muchemi, the founder of Jambopay, are some of the emerging trailblazers in this vibrant space.

But it is the concerted government and private sector push to build telecoms infrastructure and digital services that is helping to catalyse the trend.

The Communication Authority of Kenya’s (CA) latest statistics place the country’s Internet penetration at 90 per cent or 43.3 million users as at the end of June this year, compared to 37.7 million the previous year.

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CA opts for phased phone services quality test plan

CAKBUSINESS DAILY By MUTHOKI MUMO

Tuesday November 21, 2017

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) will implement new standards of measuring the quality of mobile phone services in phases following a request from operators.

The CA has published a new framework, which expands the authority’s powers by requiring operators to submit data on network performance more regularly, assessing the quality SMS and Internet services in addition to voice, and taking the views of customers into consideration.

While the framework is supposed to take effect in the 2017/18 financial year, the CA says assessing network performance and surveys to measure customer experience will be delayed.

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Huduma savouring glory for easing public service delivery MONDAY NOVEMBER 6 2017

Huduma2107aDAILY NATION By SICILY KARIUKI

Monday November 6, 2017

Huduma Mobile Outreach Programme, popularly known as Huduma Mashinani, has been nominated for an international award by the African Association for Public Administration and Management.

Whether it brings home the overall trophy as it has done in the past or not, this is a demonstration of the determination to ensure best practices locally and internationally.

To sustain its leadership in public service provision, Huduma Kenya Programme must continuously innovate.

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Nakuru minister nominee prioritises Wi-Fi, school lunch

naksphotopixDAILY NATION By FRANCIS MUREITHI

Tuesday October 31, 2017

Former Chief of Staff at the Nakuru County Government, Raymond Kimutai Komen, has promised to revamp the controversial Sh200 million Nakuru Wi-Fi if he is appointed the ICT County Executive Committee member.

The free Wi-Fi, known as BilaWaya, is active in selected hotspots in Nakuru Town was a project of the presidential digital team in collaboration with the county government.

PASSION

However, there was a huge outcry from the residents who called it a "white elephant" project that gobbled public funds.

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Konza City tech goal must survive election cycles

KonzapxDAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Wednesday October 18, 2017

It’s been a whole year of politics, with no guarantee that October 26 will settle and bring the political contentions to its logical conclusion.

So, rather than put our lives on hold, we must learn to multi-task. In other words, we let the politicians do their job while we do ours.

Government must continue driving the ICT sector without losing momentum.   Of course some may argue in favour of putting the Jubilee administration ICT agenda on hold, until after the elections or when the prevailing political questions are settled.

However, there is a bigger argument about the country’s ICT agenda that would override any administrations agenda – irrespective of whether that administration is Jubilee, Nasa or the Thirdway Alliance. That bigger argument is defined in the Vision2030 documents. 

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Don’t fear cloud computing. You already use it

cloudcomputingDAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

TUESDAY OCTOBER 10 2017

The recent presidential petition brought technology right to the centre of the average Kenyan’s life.

Whereas, previously, we covered the technical jargon that was floated during the petition, we left out one important term that remains relevant beyond petitions and elections – cloud computing.

Some of the IEBC election data was ‘in the cloud’ and so we were told access to it was a bit complicated due to the technical teams being asleep.

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Wafula Chebukati outlines tough demands on OT-Morpho

IEBCdatapicDAILY NATION By JUSTUS WANGA

Monday October 02, 2017

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has outlined tough new measures to technology company OT-Morpho after signing a new contract on Thursday to manage results transmission in the October 26 presidential election.

Classified documents leaked to the Nation by sources at OT-Morpho reveal IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati’s raft of ultimatums and terms of reference to the firm’s vice president and general manager, Africa and Middle East, Olivier Charlanes insisting that the reason the presidential polls were annulled was because of system failure he partly blames on them.

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Communications Authority dismisses Nasa claims

wangusiCITDAILY NATION By KENNEDY KIMANTHI

September, Wednesday 27, 2017

The Communications Authority of Kenya has said no cases of election result transmission failures were reported to them during the August 8 election.

Director-General Francis Wangusi said in a statement that the authority had directed mobile operators contracted to support the transmission of systems of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to report any transmission hitches.

Nasa leader Raila Odinga has accused Safaricom of working with a French digital security firm to tilt the August 8 elections outcome in favour of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

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