Telecommunications in Kenya
Telecommunications in Kenya include radio, television, fixed and mobile telephones, and the Internet.
Radio and television
- state-owned radio broadcaster operates 2 national radio channels and provides regional and local radio services in multiple languages; a large number of private radio stations, including provincial stations broadcasting in local languages; transmissions of several international broadcasters are available (2007);
- 24 AM, 8 FM, and 6 shortwave (2001).
- roughly a half-dozen privately owned TV stations and a state-owned TV broadcaster that operates 2 channels; satellite and cable TV subscription services available (2007);
- 8 stations (2002).
Television is the main news source in cities and towns. TV in rural areas is limited by lack of reliable electricity and radio listening dominates in rural areas, where most Kenyans live. A switchover to digital TV is under way. Satellite pay-TV is offered by the Wananchi Group, which operates Zuku TV, and by South Africa's MultiChoice. Entertainment, music and phone-ins dominate the radio scene, which includes Islamic stations and stations broadcasting in local languages.
- 251,600 lines in use, 124th in the world (2012);
- 320,000 lines in use (2007).
- 30.7 million lines, 33rd in the world (2012);
- 10.4 million lines (2007).
Telephone system: inadequate; fixed-line telephone system is small and inefficient; trunks are primarily microwave radio relay; business data commonly transferred by a very small aperture terminal (VSAT) system; sole fixed-line provider, Telkom Kenya, is slated for privatization; multiple providers in the mobile-cellular segment of the market fostering a boom in mobile-cellular telephone usage with teledensity reaching 65 per 100 persons (2011).
- 13.8 million users, 35th in the world; 32.1% of the population, 129th in the world (2012);
- 4.0 million users, 59th in the world (2009);
- 3.0 million users (2008);
- 500,000 users (2002).
Internet censorship and surveillance
Kenya was rated as "partly free" in the 2009 and 2011 Freedom on the Net reports from Freedom House with scores of 34 and 32 which is much closer to the "free" rating that ends at 30 then it is to the "not free" rating that starts at 60. In 2012 and 2013 the rating improved to "free" with scores of 29 and 28.
The government does not employ technical filtering or any administrative censorship system to restrict access to political or other content. Citizens engage in the peaceful expression of views via the Internet, including by e-mail, and are able to access a wide range of viewpoints, with the websites of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the U.S.-based Cable News Network (CNN), and Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper the most commonly accessed. There are no government restrictions on access to the Internet, but Internet services are limited in rural areas due to lack of infrastructure.
The constitution protects freedom of expression and the "freedom to communicate ideas and information." However, it also grants the government the authority to punish defamation, protect privileged information, and restrict state employees’ "freedom of expression in the interest of defense, public safety, public order, public morality or public health." In January 2009, the government passed a controversial Communications Amendment Act that established that any person who publishes, transmits, or causes to be published in electronic form obscene information commits an offense. The Act also outlines other forms of illegality associated with the use of information and communication technologies. At the end of 2010, the measure had not been used to prosecute anyone for online expression. Under the Act, the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), rather than the independent Media Council of Kenya, is responsible for regulating both traditional and online media. The CCK is also independent, but because the CCK has yet to make any decisions affecting the internet, its autonomy and professionalism in making determinations remain to be seen.
In July 2009 the government announced that all cell phone users had to provide the government with their name and identification number. This regulation applies to citizens who access the Internet through cell phone-based services as well.
- This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook website https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html.
- This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Department of State.
- "Communications: Kenya", World Factbook, U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, 11 February 2014. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
- "Kenya Profile", BBC News, 15 August 2012. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
- Dialing Procedures (International Prefix, National (Trunk) Prefix and National (Significant) Number) (in Accordance with ITY-T Recommendation E.164 (11/2010)), Annex to ITU Operational Bulletin No. 994-15.XII.2011, International Telecommunication Union (ITU, Geneva), 15 December 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
- Calculated using penetration rate and population data from "Countries and Areas Ranked by Population: 2012", Population data, International Programs, U.S. Census Bureau, retrieved 26 June 2013
- "Percentage of Individuals using the Internet 2000-2012", International Telecommunications Union (Geneva), June 2013, retrieved 22 June 2013
- "Fixed (wired)-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants 2012", Dynamic Report, ITU ITC EYE, International Telecommunication Union. Retrieved on 29 June 2013.
- "Active mobile-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants 2012", Dynamic Report, ITU ITC EYE, International Telecommunication Union. Retrieved on 29 June 2013.
- Select Formats, Country IP Blocks. Accessed on 2 April 2012. Note: Site is said to be updated daily.
- Population, The World Factbook, United States Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on 2 April 2012. Note: Data are mostly for 1 July 2012.
- "Country Report: Kenya", Freedom on the Net 2011, Freedom House, April 2011.
- "Country Report: Kenya", Freedom on the Net 2013, Freedom House, April 2011
- "Human Rights Report: Kenya 2010", Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State, 8 April 2011.