Even as more and more Kenyans are accessing high speed broadband Internet, the poor find themselves disproportionately priced out of the digital real estate. Low and moderate income families have some type of Internet access, which they use for tasks from doing homework to paying bills; cost is still an issue despite some efforts by some local Internet providers to introduce affordable alternatives. Luckily Poa! Internet came to the rescue.
Today more families own a mobile phone than they have access to basic amenities. Low and moderate-income families are also increasingly purchasing technology such as smartphones in order to enhance their children’s education and stay in touch with family and friends. However, the cost of purchasing high speed broadband internet is a bit overwhelming to them and thus many remain offline.
Fortunately the startup, Poa! Internet is doing their level best to alleviate the internet connectivity issues for low-income households. Their mission is to develop the technology and infrastructure to connect the unconnected, initially in Nairobi’s slums, and now across the country’s villages. Poa! Internet is the fairy god-mother to slum dwellers. It’s been able to provide affordable internet services in low-income areas of Kibera, Kawangware, Jamhuri and Kabiria in Nairobi County, connecting thousands of slum dwellers. Here is how it’s transforming their lives
Stable and High speed wireless home internet services
With poa!’s wireless home Internet service, slum dwellers are now able to connect up to five devices to their home Wi-Fi router at any time, enjoying a stable and strong signal as well as Poa!’s famous unlimited connection. The unlimited option allows Poa! Internet customers to surf the internet for longer without having to limit their internet usage to save on their data bundles. The excuse of “can’t chat, I don’t have Mbs” is a thing of the past among its users. In Kibera and Kawangware, Poa! Internet has provided both Blue Star Academy and St Anne’s High School with free and unlimited Internet.
Poa!’s home Internet is also solving major security concerns. In Kibera, one of the largest urban slums in Africa, just a few kilometers from Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, there are high rates of petty crime, especially in the cover of the darkness. Many residents have frequently lost their smartphones and laptops to thugs, as they move around the dark in search of strong and stable public Wi-Fi hotspots spread around the slums. People no longer have to risk their lives and devices in search of this very important amenity that allows them to access social media, stream online media and carry out research. Slum dwellers only need go to their houses in order to access the internet, thus reducing crime incidences in slum areas.
Cheap and Affordable Internet
Initially residents of low-income areas like Kibera had to pay Sh10 an hour and Sh50 a day to subscribe to public Wi-Fi for internet access. This is a very expensive for such residents as many of them live on less than US$1.90 a day, according to a world bank report on poverty levels in third world countries. However with Poa! Internet’s wireless home internet service these low income residents need only spend Sh1500 a month wireless home internet service. With a cheaper and unlimited alternative to 4G data bundles, the residents are left with enough pocket change to sort out their other basic needs.
Poa! Internet has also been able to provide jobs to slum dwellers and rural villagers. They have been creating jobs for the residents, both directly and indirectly. Their business model gives priority to local youth in recruiting for their sales teams.