Meet Poa!, A Kenyan Startup that Provides Unlimited WiFi Services to Nairobi-Slum Households for $0.09 Per Hour
Poa! Internet Service is a Kenyan startup that offers unlimited WiFi internet service to dwellers of low-income areas of Kibera and Kawangware ( two parts of Nairobi) in partnership with Liquid Telcom. Poa! offers 24 hours and monthly unlimited internet connections to users at very affordable rates.
Poa! packages start from as low as Sh10 (₦36/ $0.0988) for an hour unlimited access which proves a real value for the low-income populace. It has now registered over 1,500 new home Internet connections as hundreds of users who previously subscribed to their Sh10 an hour and Sh50 (₦178/$0.4945) a day public Wi-Fi have moved to Poa!’s Sh1,500 (₦5,346/$14.82) a month wireless home internet service.
— poa! internet (@poa_internet) February 7, 2018
Poa! found a niche in 2017—when they launched their wireless home internet service—that most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Nairobi didn’t recognise—providing internet coverage in low and middle-class estates in the low-income areas near Nairobi.
“Getting Kibera residents online, with our unlimited wireless home connection service, represents a major break-through in ending Africa’s digital divide between the rich and urban connected and the poor and rural unconnected.” said Andy Halsall, Poa!’s Chief Executive Officer.
By providing Internet services to their consumers, Poa!’s home Internet has also provided a relief to a prevailing security concern. Kibera, one of the largest urban slums in Africa, just 6 kilometres from Nairobi’s city centre, records high rates of petty crime, especially at night.
— poa! internet (@poa_internet) February 2, 2018
Residents frequently risk losing their smartphones and laptops to thugs, as they move in the dark and often congested passages between the tightly squeezed shanty houses in search of public Wi-Fi hotspots. Bringing internet services to homes enables people to leave their valuable mobile devices at home and wait until they are back before spending time surfing the web thus protecting their valuable gadgets from petty thieves in these critical areas.
“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.”
Muthoni Kenneth reports:
Among many others interviewed, Brian Otieno—a freelance journalist said,
“I needed affordable and reliable internet in my home that allows me to submit my work with ease and beat tight newsroom deadlines. I chose Poa!’s home internet package for my convenience and because of its affordability”.
Plans are now underway to expand Poa!’s Internet service into other rural and low-income communities beyond Kibera and Kawangware.
“We are committed to extending Internet connections to more low-income towns, and especially into people’s homes, where using the Internet has become an essential necessity. Our aim is to enhance Kenyans’ lives by providing affordable access to Internet for digital entertainment, job opportunities for the youth, and accessing entrepreneurial and educational resources”, said Andy.
Some of the questions that come to mind are Will Poa! remain the key player in this unique market space? Are there potential threats to the other popular internet service providers in Nairobi wanting a fair share of this market space? Is there a unique gap as such in the Nigerian Data/Telecom space yet to be bridged. Who is going to bridge the gap?
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