Adoption of .ke domain growing fast


There are a total of 45 licensed registrars to register domain names on behalf of applicants. PHOTO | FILE

Kenya has seen an increase in the adoption of the .ke domain as Internet uptake continues to grow, according to the latest industry statistics.

Data from the Communications Authority of Kenya’s latest statistics indicates that the number stood at 60,998 in the first quarter of the year up from 46,411 in a similar period last year.

The increase in new domain registrations comes after the Kenya Network Information Centre (Kenic), the body in charge of the .ke domain, reduced the cost of registering on the domain.

“These may seem few compared to bigger economies but looking back at 2003 when the ccTLD (country code top-level domain) was re-delegated, and considering the trend over time, the popularity in using .KE has increased tremendously,” said Joe Mucheru, Information ministry secretary for Communication and Technology.

Kenic  is now offering domain name registration agents the .ke name at a wholesale price of Sh650 per entry from the earlier Sh1,000; with the retail selling price set at Sh1,000.

The agency has been banking on the lower price, wide registrar network through Huduma Centres and the proposed regulatory changes in company registration to increase numbers. Between September 2015 and September 2016, the number grew 31 per cent after a second price cut in as many years by Kenic. The previous price reduction was from Sh3,000 to Sh1,000 in January 2015.

There are a total of 45 licensed registrars to register domain names on behalf of applicants. Kenic took charge of the .ke domain in 2002 when Kenya had less than 1,000 domains. Administrators of the .ke domain, prior to the setting up of Kenic, were Kenyan techie Shem Ochuodho and American Randy Bush. The .ke domain is available in variants known as second-level names such as for companies, (higher learning institutions), (lower and middle colleges), (non-profit organisations), (personal names), (mobile content), (government agencies), (information), and for network devices.

Build capacity

The name accounts for 93 per cent of all registered sub-domains, according to data from Kenic.

Kenya was ranked third in Africa in terms of country domain uptake, trailing South Africa (1.06 million) and Nigeria (60,000) as at end of 2015.

“Kenic is a model that has won worldwide recognition and through it Kenya has encouraged and supported other countries in Africa to set up their own ccTLD registries,” said Mr Mucheru.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in May opened its first African office in Nairobi. The global body is expected to assist Kenic build capacity in boosting .ke.