• Seven out of 10 Kenyans use the internet, making the country the best penetration in Africa according to data provided by an aggregation website.

    A new report published by US-based cloud services provider Akamai also places Kenya first (in African region) in its analysis on the state of the internet in countries and regions in the world. It was ranked 43 globally.

    According to Akamai’s report, Kenya posted a strong quarterly gain of 43 percent – the highest in the region—to join Israel and Qatar as the only surveyed countries in the region to have an average connection speed above 10 Mbps. In contrast, Namibia posted an average connection speed of 2.5 Mbps—up 4.8 percent from the second quarter but still more than 10 Mbps below the regional leader.

    On average, the connection speed in Middle East / Africa (mea) region dropped by 4.4 percent to stand at 12.4 Mbps in the third quarter compared to second quarter.

    Source: Akamai's state of the internet q3 2016 report

    Mobile penetration now over 90 percent

    Mobile penetration in the country has also increased. According to the latest statistics on mobile penetration from Kenya’s Communications Authority, the country now has over 90 percent mobile penetration. In the analysis (April to June 2016), there were 1.4 million new mobile subscriptions up from 38.3 million subscriptions recorded last quarter.

    With cheap smartphones making their way into the Kenyan market, more and more customers can access the internet using their smart devices. Google’s Consumer Barometer indicates that smartphone uptake in the country is 44 percent in 2016 up from 27 percent measured n 2014.


    Broadband connection taking off, though at a snail pace

    The Communications Authority noted in their report that Kenya has seen an increase in broadband penetration down from 7.9 million to 10.8 million subscriptions, a remarkable 36.7 percent increase.

    When it comes to activities that drive Kenyans to use the internet, Google’s Consumer Barometer identified social media, search, email and video as most popular activities by smartphone users. As is expected social media dominates with 58 percent followed by search engines at 39 percent. The email came in third at 30 percent, while video took the fourth place at 25 percent. Given the rate at which video consumes data bundle, this is remarkable information that brands and business should exploit in the coming year for digital marketing.

    Akamai report observed that broadband adoption and speeds in many mea countries are lagging behind of many others parts of the world. The third quarter, however, saw reports that “promise improvement in the region.”

    The future is even brighter

    According to the report by US-based cloud services provider, while broadband connections remain low, a “25,000 km submarine cable connecting nearly 20 hubs across Asia, Africa, and Europe is expected to be complete by the end of the year.” Additionally, Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to benefit from a partnership between Gondwana International Networks and satellite provider Intelsat. The partnership will yield cost-effective broadband service in the region.

    Moreover, “Intelsat also launched a new broadband satellite expected to serve a number of mobile operators across Africa, with the aim of enabling them to extend their networks into hard-to-reach rural communities,” the report read in part.

    In Africa, Kenya is followed by South Africa with an average connection speed of 6.0 Mbps. Morocco has 4.7 Mbps, followed by Nigeria at 3.0 Mbps, Egypt (2.7 Mbps) and Namibia with 2.5 Mbps, according to Akamai.

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