It all hardly seemed possible for as Brian Longwe of AfrISPA remarked in the opening session: "Three years ago who would have thought that VoIP could be mentioned in public, let alone that we would be talking about the business implications of it?" But Sammy Kirui of the Kenyan regulator signalled the end of the beginning: "We have come from a regulatory environment that was dictated by--consciously or unconsciously--the protection of the incumbent's revenue. That obsession even though its revenues fell anyway was like trying to hold on to an illogical scenario...If you have restrictive clauses in your licences, bring them to us and we will delete them."
This is no joke. The domination of telecommunications by Telkom Kenya (facilitated by their tight ties to the government, which ran them until recently, and to which they used to generate major revenues) has been a major barrier to the proper deployment of any kind of communications service in Kenya and, as a matter of fact, all of Africa. Now we're seeing some strong lobbies emerge for the ISPs (like AfrISPA) and also the government in Kenya is serious about stomping out corruption and making a serious effort to liberalize telecom. It's been a long time coming, but it looks like finally the Longwe's of the world are getting somewhere. (I'm sure that holding ICANN in South Africa helped a bit too.)