Archive for the ‘wireless broadband internet’ Tag

Internet in Kenya

Fellow Kenyans! At least that is how I will be starting my speeches after my
inaugration…..but I digress. I wanted to create a new forum for the user
experience with Internet access in Kenya. Be it at home, at work, on the move, in your village, in a cyber, in school, in a cyber in the village, on your mobile device etc

Let us share and educate each other. Post in the comments section below and I shall update the post with the comments, editing for clarity, brevity and to remove repetition.

I would like to chronicle pre and post fibre optic cable Internet connectivity in Kenya.

NB: Am very keen on Linux users….am told you can “tweak” your connection speeds in Linux.

I shall go first….I work from my balcony at home (but I don’t say). Currently am using KDN residentail broadband solution, a.k.a Butterfly. They have installed a wireless modem in my crib, my laptop is wi-fi ready (of course), so I hook up from the balcony, bila shoes! They have various packages ranging from 100/- to 5K, I think. The difference is the speeds and duration of connection. Am currently on 2,990/- for a whole month, unlimited! Contact Icon Telesec, the service resellers and installers on info@icon.co.ke or +254 20-386-0023 (office)

If only KDN could update their Butterfly website with these details, I would be happier. While I have yet to achieve the speeds Joe Gathu speaks of, am happy with the price / service. Once the FOC down the road from my crib is hooked to our gatehouse, am sure bandwidth will improve. We are currently on a wireless backhaul to the KDN network.

So post your expreriences below, and I will pick the items and update this post categorized by provider. Also feel free to email me your guest blog post for consideration as a full post on the same topic.

Happy surfing!

Of Safaricom and a 3G hotspot

Post Update!

Our beloved and leading GSM network, a.k.a Safaricom, is finally acknowledging that we, the 10mn plus customers, actually matter. They are going to allocate us cool KES. 1 billion (out of the many), in the form a swanky new contact centre on Mombasa Rd (its actually in Mlolongo). There should be at least 300 Customer Scare, sorry Care, personnel at hand to attend to our silly problems, which we are always bothering the busy and leading provider with. The call centre will allow us to answer four times as many calls than we are able to answer now, the CEO was quoted as saying. It feels good to be recognized as the king, after a few pickups were thrown our way for endless chatter.

Methinks, with hungry competition (read Orange and Econet) sniffing the air, and Zain re-branded and ready for battle, dear Safcom is cleaning up house in readiness for bruising wars. Let’s wait and see, 1 or 2 years down the line, who will be king.

When all is said and done, its the customer who will win by taking our chatter-box selves where we get value for money, or will we? Remember we are still peculiar.

BTW: I sincerely hope Telkom Kenya will bring a fresh new brand with the launch of their GSM network, something like Orange, which the mother company uses elsewhere. Else, we shall look away uninterested and unexcited. Just do a manual network selection on your phone, and KE 07 will appear.

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Original Post….

While still on the theme of things wireless, broadband, and Nairobi, our city is now blanketed by a 3G, ultra-high speed broadband hot spot, or something like that. Kenya’s runaway success story, GSM mobile service provider Safaricom, has done it again. Depending on which side of the Mobitelea fence you sit, those fellows at Safaricom are really thinking hard. They announced a multi-billion profit figure, before tax, then launched a 3G service in the city of Nairobi (complete with various connection bundles), then launched a free call service, between 9pm and 6am, for a month. You simply need to have registered once, and oh yer, recharged your account with at least 100 bob of airtime. (Some math: with 10million plus subscribers, x 100 bob each, did they just make a billion this weekend? Maybe.) Caveat: Recharging using the 20 bob voucher x 5, or the 50 bob voucher x 2, will not equal 100, a least according to our beloved Safaricom math. So you will sit patiently waiting for 11pm to chatter, only to discover you airtime has been depleted. Read the small print, comply, then call away. What is annoying is that the chatterboxes are driving other customers south.

With peculiar calling habits already entrenched, Kenyans have been chattering from 11pm to dawn without ceasing. Expect lots of calls after this hour from long lost friends, and some enemies as well. So this past week, Safaricom, the company we Kenyans love so much, has been ringing in our minds. We wonder what is next from them?

So has my dream come true? Wireless broadband on the balcony? Safaricom are promising that, and I am making a beeline for the local shop to get me one of those USB modems. I should be whistling away as I surf, while other Kenyans chatter for free. For a sum of 1,999/- per month, I shall enjoy broadband on my balcony, for a download cap of 700MB. We just have to see what that exactly means.

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.