Facebook connects Kenya Wi-Fi users to 850 hotspots

Surf chief executive Mark Summer. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG
Surf chief executive Mark Summer. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG 

Facebook has connected 850 hotspots to its low-cost Internet service since its launch in March, with plans to link an additional 150 public places before the year ends.

Surf Kenya, Facebook’s local partner, in partnership with Internet Solutions Kenya plan to cover 20 towns over the next two months.

Current coverage has reached parts of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Eldoret. In Nairobi, Surf has set-up hotspots at educational institutions including Technical University of Kenya, KCA and Zetech universities.

It has also partnered with local entrepreneurs mostly the retail outlets to grow its network rapidly.

“Surf’s mission is to expand Kenyan consumers’ options for Internet access. We’re excited to reach the milestone of 1,000 hotspots before the end of 2017.

“Now everyone can stream more, connect more, learn more, play more and earn more income through doing business online.

“We’re honoured to be working with Facebook, which powers express Wi-Fi, and Internet solutions, our service provider partner enabling us to expand so rapidly throughout the country,” said Surf CEO Mark Summer.

Facebook’s daily Internet bundles cost as low as Sh15, making it one of the cheapest in the market.

Facebook said during the launch of the service that they are using Internet access to drive economic opportunities and enable the free exchange of data and information, by ensuring that it is available, affordable, and allows usage that promotes positive social and economic outcomes.

Kenya ranks poorly in the affordability measure, according to a study titled ‘The Inclusive Internet: Mapping Progress’.

On average, while 94 per cent of people live within range of a mobile signal, only 43 per cent have access to a 4G signal, according to the study carried out in 75 countries.