NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 8 – Low-cost internet service provider Poa! Internet says it has signed over 1,500 new home internet connections in Kibera – Africa’s largest slum – to their Sh1,500 a month wireless home internet service.
The company says they have hundreds of users who have previously subscribed to their Sh10 an hour and Sh50 a day public Wi-Fi before the new monthly package was introduced.
The service was introduced for the first time in 2016 through a partnership with Liquid Telcom.
Despite the conditions in Kibera – 90 percent of the residents live in rental houses measuring 12 feet by 12 feet with an unemployment rate of over 50 percent– the internet company sees a bright future for home internet in informal settlements.
Poa’s CEO Andy Halsall says for the company, getting Kibera residents online represents a major break-through in ending Africa’s digital divide between the rich and urban connected, and the poor and rural unconnected.
The service will see Kibera residents connect up to five devices to their home Wi-Fi router at any time.
“Our customers, who live in both standalone houses and apartment blocks, often look for a service that allows them to access social media, stream online media and carry out research, which, in the absence of local providers, can see them paying more than anyone on ad hoc MB focused data bundles,” Halsall says.
According to the company, the service will solve major security concerns that include high rates of petty crime especially at night.
“Residents frequently risk losing their smartphones and laptops to thugs, as they move around the dark and often congested passages between the tightly squeezed shanty houses in search of public Wi-Fi hotspots. Enabling people to wait until they are home before spending time surfing the web is helping to reduce crime in these critical areas,” the company says.
Communication Authority of Kenya says internet penetration in Kenya reached 112 percent in the quarter to September 2017, translating to an estimated 51.1 million internet users in a country of about 45 million.