Can you truly Netflix & Chill (binge) in Kenya?

How many of us actually Netflix & Chill? I mean really. Not some 50 bob series you bought somewhere and binge on. Very few of us, I presume.

Netflixing, actually isn’t ostentatious. It isn’t expensive, with a base subscription fee of $9 a month. You even get the first month free, a taster of how good things can be. The issue is a good internet connection in Kenya. See, a good streaming session requires good bandwidth. Especially for a company such as Netflix that is against offline (or otherwise) caching of media content, you have to have a good connection the whole time you binge. A good connection is achievable; a good lasting connection is where the trouble is.

For a long time, if you wanted good broadband in your perch, you had to resort to the insanely expensive Access Kenya for a solution. But then it would be (expensive), since they mostly cater for corporate clientele. Other options were Jamii Telkom and the usual slew of MSPs (Mobile Service Providers). Safaricom too, jumped into the Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) bandwagon but on paper, Zuku Fiber slay it and besides, its coverage was to laugh at.

Zuku sounded real good when it announced its FTTH broadband in parts of Nairobi and Mombasa. It was going to be the Toyota of ISP solutions in the country: reliable, fast (relatively) and affordable. It is, somewhat, at times. Pricing is just at the sweet spot. Speed too, isn’t so bad. Just don’t expect advertised numbers in real life. The rest of the time it was pure unleaded crap; what with really poor customer service, fluctuating bandwidth and occasional unexplained outages. We all know the familiar rant on their social media pages. This lit room for improvement. Room for an ISP that would tick the three boxes neatly, and then some. Enter stage left: Kepnya Power.

Don’t balk. They may not be so good at keeping power up but if we’re to trust Safaricom’s actions to lease some of their fibre network, they seem good. But sadly, we can’t say for sure if they will be as good delivering to customers like you and I. It is said that by December this year, Kepnya Power will have FTTH solutions of their own to compete with the likes of Safaricom, JTL Faiba and Zuku Fibre. The fixed-connection playfield is about to get crowded.

“We have close to 5 million homes connected to the grid and we want to take advantage of the grid to deliver the fibre to homes. We are talking about 20 million people at once,” said Dr. Ben Chumo, MD, Kenya Power.

Someone tweeted today that they’d think twice about opting in on the proposed Kenya Power International fibre service citing a possible situation where he’ll be offline ‘because of a monkey’. Obviously, Kenya Power have a huge image issue that probably will hinder this little dream. Or perhaps they don’t. Perhaps it will be stellar and all things excellent. Besides, it is claimed to have a coverage spanning 20 million people’s homes. That’s quite something, right?

Only time will tell.


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