Communications Authority Seeks Out Consumers at County Forum

Transcend Media Group is proud to be part of the team that is organizing the consumer forums organized by Communication Authority of Kenya across the various counties. The sixth edition of Kikao Kikuu was held in Taita Taveta County at the Moi stadium in Voi on the 7th of April 2016.

In a bid to stimulate dialogue with the ICT consumer, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) was in Taita Taveta County for the sixth edition of consumer forums dubbed ‘Kikao Kikuu.’ The aim of the forum was to promote interaction between ICT consumers and service providers, and explore the ICT opportunities in the counties.

Speaking at the forum, Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), Director General, Mr. Francis Wangusi said the Authority was keen on ensuring that service providers offer quality services to consumers. “By bringing consumers and the service providers together, we are providing the right climate for dialogue and consumer feedback to improve service provision.” he said.

“Kikao Kikuu allows consumers to share their experiences and needs with service providers, and ultimately give information that can enlighten product and service development,” he added.

According to the second quarterly sector statistics released by the Authority, there has been considerable increase in the use of internet and mobile phones. The number of mobile subscriptions has grown to reach 37.7 million with the number of Internet users reaching 35.5 million. Consequently, the population that has access to Internet services reached 82.6 per 100 inhabitants. Increased consumption of ICTs calls for empowerment of consumers to educate them on their rights and responsibilities, as well as the expected quality of service from service providers.

“With enhanced access to ICT services the Authority is ensuring standardized service provision to all consumers. It is with this in mind that we have created a feedback mechanism such as the county forums to capture consumer sentiments,” added Mr. Wangusi.

CA Chairman, Ngene Gituku, said the Authority would continuously strive to engage various stakeholders especially county governments in coming up with necessary regulatory interventions to not only enhance access to ICT services but also maintain the necessary standards in terms of quality of service.

‘‘Delivery of good services cannot be done single handedly and it is our pleasure therefore to work hand in hand with the County Government, service providers and other government agencies, and especially collaborate in holding this forum for you all, ’’ he said.

The Authority is also currently engaging county governments on the implementation of a national addressing system that seeks to spur e-commerce in the country. The initiative will see harmonized numbering of properties that ease identification in case of delivery of courier items.

Taita Taveta Governor Eng. John Mruttu applauded the Authority’s effort to create a platform for engagement between consumers of ICT services and the various service providers which he termed as critical in achieving the desired consumer expectations of quality services. Eng. Mruttu said the county is putting in efforts to ensure that its residents have access to ICT services.

“Through the ICT department, we have undertaken several projects including structured cabling, internet provision in most offices as well as a citizens’ portal for interaction between the county and its citizens,” Mruttu said.

According to the recently released ICT Access Gap Study, Taita Taveta County is among those with access to both mobile voice services and the 3G broadband services. The Governor affirmed that the county is keen to leverage on technology to improve service delivery to residents. The county has established a resource center in Mgange as well as bulk SMS services to help reach citizens.

The one-day forum with the theme of Quality of Service was held at the Voi stadium. The event was preceded by a host of exhibition of various communications services alongside a series of roadshows and activations at various parts of the county.

Some of the concerns raised at the forum include poor network quality in different parts of the county, slow resolution of consumer complaints by service providers, as well as low percentage of local content on media platforms. The Authority confirmed that it had put in place a Programming Code for Free to Air Radio and Television that seeks to increase local content in the media. Additionally, it has established a robust complaints handling procedure that enumerates how media houses should handle complaints raised by their consumers. CA is also currently running campaigns on Child online Protection that targets children, parents and guardians on the necessary safety measures to take when online.

The Authority has previously held successful forums in other Counties including Machakos, Nakuru, Mombasa, Nairobi and Uasin Gishu. The next forum is scheduled for Kajiado County on 14th April, 2016. It currently has regional presence through its offices in Mombasa and Eldoret.