Factors influencing the uptake of internet connectivity in Meru Municipality, Meru County in Kenya
Human communication has come a long way and is ever evolving. It not only changes the way people interact with one another, but also the world around them. The internet, a virtual mesh that facilitates nearly every aspect of our daily lives, is maturing to the point where the existing telecommunication structure can no longer support it. Besides our dependence on it paying our bills and reading the daily news, we look to it for sources of entertainment such as instantly streamed videos, songs and other bandwidth heavy applications straight to our personal computers and mobile devices. Already demand for bandwidth has exceeded 100Mbps, for high-end, power users, and demand for different offerings is converging towards higher speed offerings. This study was descriptive and was limited to internet connection in Meru Municipality of Meru County, Kenya. Simple random sampling method was used in the selection of the respondents from various connected individuals across the Municipality. Questionnaire with both structured and unstructured questions was used in collecting primary data. This was done to selected individual connected persons. The main objective of the study was to investigate the factors influencing the uptake of internet connectivity among Meru Municipality residents. This study therefore examined the influence of Bandwidth speed on the uptake of internet connectivity. This study also sought to find out the influence of cost of internet on uptake of internet connection. It also sought to determine the influence of advertisement on internet connectivity. The study also sought to assess the influence of literacy levels on uptake of internet connectivity. Data was analyzed using SPSS. One of the key findings was that, the high cost of internet subscription was identified as one of the most hindrance factor to internet accessibility by majority of youths and even adults. Advertisement was identified as the second influencing factor with majority of respondent feeling much has to be done by internet providers to reach potential customers. Considering the population sample had 98 percent O level of education and 98% knew English or Kiswahili, Literacy levels was identified as the third influencing factor. Lastly, connection speed was identified as the least factor. Hence, the study concluded that high cost of internet is one of the hindrance factors to internet penetration in Meru Municipality and thus a study should be initiated by internet service providers to determine the actual cost of internet provision across different towns which shall be pegged to the prevailing socio-economic climate in the area. Finally, the findings can be useful to Policy makers especially the Ministry of Information and Technology, County Government, Internet Service Providers and other stakeholders who are aspiring to turn Kenya into a regional ICT hub and achieving Kenyans Long term development plan of Vision 2030.