Archive for the ‘wifi’ Tag

Of a 24-hr Nairobi, Wi-fi and Writing

It’s been a long weekend here in Kenya, thanks to our peculiar way of celebrating national holidays. If it falls on a Sunday, the following day is a public holiday, to reward us for the serious celebrations and otherwise that we engage in. So its been a whole 3 days, alot of time to sample what our lovely city Nairobi has to offer, albeit in daylight.

So inspired by some research I need to do for my book (see my other blog), I go down Ngong Road to Prestige Plaza, that icon of 24-hr shopping mall phenomenon. Many people wonder what Nairobians do up all night, but you just need to go to Prestige and the adjacent businesses and see. My visit was during the day, and I was there to hunt down a real wi-fi hot spot. Those innovative guys at MoMovies have again led the pack. They ae piloting a 24-hr wi-fi hot spot as a new channel of business, besides their 24-hr video library in the same mall. They hold the largest collection of original DVDs, complete with home delivery and online ordering, so go over and sign up.

After a little hunting for a power socket, I fire up my laptop, launch Ubuntu and am online in minutes. It really flies, by Kenyan standards. We have alot of broadband this and broadband that here, the word is grossly misused. The service is great, and I will be going down to pay for the same service when its launched commercially. I will even follow them to the other malls where they are planning to launch the service. Kenyan coffee and wi-fi, great combination.

So with blistering speed wi-fi, I did alot of research and filled tonnes of pages with material. Being a typical Nairobi end-of-month evening, I snapped my laptop shut and was home by 8pm.

We need that kind of service here in Nairobi. The person who extends the hot spot to cover my balcony has an instant customer. I wonder if the people who do business development, or whatever they call it, for ISPs read such pieces. I think they don’t.

Fibre Optic Cable, Broadband, Wimax, Wi-fi

Here in Kenya, we are the last frontier in the digital divide. We are happy to say though that all is not lost in the struggle to emancipate ourselves from lack of submarine FOC to our shores. Thanks to lack of visionary planning, silly politics and big brother attitude, we are submarine FOCless. Just when we were beginning to get frustrated and snail-pace connections were killing us with hefty bills, there is a flurry of announcements. Submarine FOC is coming our way. All of a sudden we have like 3 cable laying ships competing to hook up our shores to the global digital village.

Meanwhile, in Kenya the ISPs are working very hard. We have all manner of supposed broadband, from Africa Online’s Infinet to KDNs Butterfly. The Kenyan government not being left in the zeal to connect the villages with FOC and setting up digital kiosks / centers, known as Pasha. While on cables, fiber of otherwise, Jamii Telecom is finishing its Nairobi metro fiber network. In essence if the ISPs in Nairobi were reading this (usually they don’t bother), they would have found out where I live, asked Jamii to extend the fiber from the roadside outside my house to a wiring closet at the basement, and then hooked my apartment. I in turn would terminate the connection to my secure wireless broadband router, and retire to my balcony and surf, barefoot.

I have alot of faith in the entrepreneurial skills of Kenyans, so do not disappoint me.