poa! Internet in partnership with Liquid Telecom Kenya has launched a new Internet model into the Kibera slums, drawing thousands of subscribers in just a few months.
Delivered using solar powered hotspots and company has also provided free Internet access to Kibera schools, health centres, churches, mosques and youth centres.
Established in August last year in Kenya, poa! Internet is now employing 25 staff, mostly young people, the majority of them from Kibera, selling Internet for as little as Sh10 for 25MB.
The company’s aim is to bring millions of East Africans online over the next years, using innovative technology and ‘kidogo’ product pricing.
“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 Andy Halsall, CEO of poa! internet.
poa! is using Liquid Telecom Kenya’s fibre infrastructure, known as a local loop, from a connection near Kibera, to supply the internet to residents of Africa’s second largest slum.
“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”, he said.
The partnership is making a swift and visible difference, he said.
“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 said.
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 Andy.
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.
Andy 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 as an outstanding example of last mile development of 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 Mr Ben Roberts, CEO of Liquid Telecom Kenya.
He said Liquid telecom was looking forwards to supporting poa! internet as their business expands and rolls out to other areas.