The number of internet users in Kenya now stands at 35.5 million with increased availability internet fuelling the use of online platforms for various transactions by Kenyans, a report by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) shows. The sector statistics report for the second quarter for the financial year 2015/2016 shows Internet penetration surged to 82.6 per cent up from 74.2 per cent the previous quarter.
The growth of the internet is attributed to the roll out of the National Optic Fibre Broadband Infrastructure (NOFBI) Phase 1, the on-going roll out of Phase 2 and the increased last mile connection by private operators coupled with expansive roll out of Third Generation (3G) mobile communication. Subsequently, the period October to December 2015 saw the number of internet/data subscriptions jump by 10.6 percent to register 23. 9 million subscriptions up from 21.6 million subscriptions registered during the previous period.
The same period also saw increased appetite for mobile data with subscriptions increasing to 23.7 million up from 21.5 million representing a 10.2 per cent increase from the previous quarter.
The upsurge in the mobile data/internet was driven by affordable Internet bundles offered by the various service providers as a result of fair competition in the data market. Similarly, the exponential growth of e-commerce services, social networking, online mobile banking and online research on mobile devices have pushed the demand for internet/data usage.
The report also indicates that the number of mobile subscriptions dropped marginally to post 37.7 million subscriptions down from 37.8 million recorded last quarter. The decline could be attributed to SIMbox raids carried out by the Authority during the quarter. Consequently, mobile penetration dropped marginally by 0.4 percentage points to stand at 87.7 per cent down from 88.1 per cent recorded during the previous quarter.
The report indicates an 11 per cent growth in .KE domain names to stand at 51,548 up from 46,411 recorded in the previous quarter.
In broadcasting, the number of Free-to-Air TV channels on digital terrestrial platform now stands at 62 up from 55 in the previous quarter while the number of FM Radio stations increased to 139 from 137 in the last quarter.
The postal and courier sub-sector were the greatest beneficiaries of the festive season as the number of letters sent locally grew by 35.6 per cent to reach 17.6 million up from 12.9 million the previous quarter.
The number of courier items sent locally increased by 46.1 per cent to stand at 445,836 during the quarter up from 305,248 items the previous quarter. The remarkable growth in traffic for local letters and courier items sent is attributed to the festive season as well as KCPE and KCSE national examinations.