Uproar over Zuku services call for guidelines to streamline Internet Service Providers

January 20, 2023 - Reading Time: 2 minutes - By Kennedy Osore

Zuku, an internet service provider owned by Wananchi Group, has recently faced sharp public criticism. The company received widespread backlash online from its customers over poor internet services. Zuku customers experienced internet outage, downtime, and slow speeds for an extended period. To further worsen the situation, customers were enraged by Zuku’s slow response and poor customer service.

Going by comments online, many Zuku customers vowed to switch to other alternative internet service providers. Zuku is among the fixed internet providers in the country, with more than 250,000 subscribers. In fact, according to Data from the Communications Authority of Kenya, the company added 38,606 subscribers in the year ended June 2022 to hit 255,906.

The Communications Authority allows customers to lodge complaints relating to internet services. The Authority receives and addresses complaints against service providers, including connectivity issues, quality of service, and coverage, through a laid-out procedure.

Migration from Zuku to other Internet Service Providers might seem like a solution in the interim but more needs to be done in the long run to ensure Kenyans enjoy access to reliable and fast internet.

Through its economic transformation plan, the government seeks to make broadband available throughout the country within five years by rolling out 100,000km of national fibre optic connectivity network. This is geared towards enhancing internet access in the country. The government also intends to digitize and have about 80% of government services online.

The ambitious government plan requires policy and regulatory interventions to take off. One key aspect would be for CA to consider and develop guidelines on internet service provision. The proposed guidelines should, among other things, cover the following issues:

  •         Service rating – service rating through the provision of information on potential downtime in percentages and maintenance cycles
  •         Compensation – Structure on compensation for extra unexpected downtimes that surpass agreed-upon percentages. One way of going about it is in the form of extra hours/days of access based on the lost time during downtime.
  •         Information – Timely updates on the causes, expected timelines on restoration, and any backups during downtimes.
  •         Customer service – customer care service that is easily reachable, professional and customer-centric

Such guidelines will go a long way in ensuring quality internet service provision and address concerns such as those experienced by Zuku customers.

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