poa! Internet eyes East Africa expansion following successful pilot in Kibera

poa! Internet, a service that has been operating in Nairobi’s Kibera slum since 2015, has announced plans to roll out its service to various parts of the country and eventually, the greater East Africa region.

Thousands of Kibera residents, including schools, health centres, churches, mosques and the youth in general have benefited from the service, which has been making moves to expand its reach to various parts of the country.

Established in August last year in Kenya, poa! Internet is now employing 25 staff, mostly young people, the majority of them from Kibera. The company’s aim is to bring millions of East Africans online over the next few years using affordable product pricing. Mr Andy Halsall, CEO of poa! Internet, said the firm is currently using Liquid Telecom Kenya’s fibre infrastructure from a connection near Kibera to supply the internet to residents of Africa’s second largest slum.

“We are selling internet to individuals in Kibera at affordable prices and have also provided free Internet to more than eight health centres, 20 schools, and 20 cyber cafes’ in the area,” said Mr Halsall.

“Liquid Telecom is our partner in ensuring that the less privileged population of Kibera access the same services and quality of Internet as their counterparts in other parts of the country, and at an affordable cost. Internet has made life much better, with more youths engaging in businesses, such as cyber cafes, and shops where they are selling bundles. This has had a positive impact on these individuals and put great potential in their hands,” he added.

The cost of accessing the internet using poa! ranges from as low as Sh10 for 25 MB to Sh3,000 for 20 GB, in bundles that do not expire.

“We have ensured that anybody in Kibera wanting to use high speed, high quality Internet can do so for just a few bob,” said Halsall.

poa! also provides its customers with free access to a wide range of digital content, including educational and healthcare and other socially beneficial materials as well as sports, entertainment and news.

“We want to ensure that the people of Kibera can get access to the latest information even when they don’t have cash in their pocket,” he explained.

Halsall raised seed funding in the UK to launch the business on the basis that East Africa still holds huge potential for internet consumption.

“We are targeting millions of subscribers in this region if our plans go as scheduled,” he said. “East Africa is highly educated but still not everybody has access to internet.”

This vision has seen Liquid Telecom Kenya name poa! Internet an outstanding example of last mile development with regard to the group’s East African infrastructure.

“The launch and rapid rise of poa! Internet in Kibera represents a fulfilment of our own purpose and vision too after we invested heavily in the new Nairobi metro network so that it can provide up to 20 times more internet data across the city with high quality and reliability,” said Liquid Telecom Kenya CEO, Mr Ben Roberts.

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