Skip to main content

This piece was originally published on the website of APC member organisation KICTANet as part of a series of blog posts on the work that the organisation has been doing around community networks.

In the COVID-19 era, community networks became increasingly important in meeting the rising demand for affordable connectivity. 

In Kenya, where community networks are growing in size and number, there was a positive regulatory change in 2021 with the introduction of the Community Networks Service Provider (CNSP) licence in the Communications Authority Unified Licensing Framework

In 2022, the Authority published the draft Universal Service Fund (USF) Strategic Plan 2022-2026, which proposes the following with regard to community networks:

Annex 1: Key Result Areas, Strategic Objectives, Key Performance Indicators, Baselines and Targets

ICT infrastructure and services rolled out in telecommunications infrastructure voice and connectivity services, broadcasting, and postal services in unserved and underserved communities.

  • Key result area 1 – Telecommunications (Voice and Data), strategic objective 1.5, to facilitate the establishment of 100 community networks in unserved and underserved communities

  • Key result area 5 – Infrastructure and Services – e-Inclusivity, strategic objective 5.1, to enhance access to services including voice and data among persons with disabilities, women, and other vulnerable groups in unserved and underserved communities

This is a commendable move, as it will support the provision of broadband connectivity to citizens, especially vulnerable groups in unserved and underserved communities. 

Funding of infrastructure projects could be made available through a public call, open to holders of a CNSP licence. The funds could be used to support infrastructure projects providing broadband connectivity to citizens by deploying new infrastructure in places where there was none or by extending and upgrading the existing infrastructure in areas where a community network was already operating.

The funds can be used to purchase equipment, pay for installation, and cover operational costs. 


Josephine Miliza is a network engineer passionate about enabling communities in Africa to leverage digital technologies for socioeconomic empowerment. In 2016 she started working as the project manager for TunapandaNET, a community network in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya that focuses on promoting access for all, adoption of digital technologies and ICT capabilities for the local community. She is also the founder of Tech Dada, a women-in-tech initiative within Tunapanda Institute that seeks to educate, equip and empower young women and girls to become innovators and agents of change in the 21st century. As the Africa Regional Policy Coordinator for Community Networks in the Local Networks initiative, Josephine is working under the Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet).