Maryanne Kitany, the Member of Parliament for Aldai, has submitted a motion in the National Assembly advocating for government regulation of internet billing by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) through the ICT Ministry.
Kitany argues that there is a risk that the cost of data might impede technological advancements and innovation within the country.
Given the government’s emphasis on digitization and the automation of public services, Kitany highlights the necessity to reduce data expenses in order to prevent the digital exclusion of a significant portion of the Kenyan population.
“As the country rapidly digitizes services and processes, the high costs of data, internet services as well as purchase of internet-enabled digital devices may lead to digital exclusion of a majority of Kenyans,” says the lawmaker.
“Recognizing that, there is need to bridge the existing gap in ICT to ensure inclusivity in access to internet make Kenya a regional ICT hub while keeping pace with shifting technological changes; noting that, the Government’s plan for a digital superhighway may not be realized without deliberate interventions to lower data costs.”
Kitany is thus suggesting that Internet Service Providers be mandated to offer users metered billing of internet use based on consumption. She argues that this approach will help alleviate exploitation and safeguard the economic interests of internet users in accordance with Article 46 of the Constitution.
The lawmaker is urging the ICT Ministry to mandate Internet Service Providers to create and implement quality metered billing systems. These systems should be capable of tracking customer usage, translating it into comprehensible data, generating invoices based on consumption, and aligning their metrics with the value that customers derive from different internet services.