Facebook partners with Surf to launch Express Wi-Fi in Kenya
Surf and Facebook have partnered to launch Express Wi-Fi in Kenya. This service has been in testing for a few months before it was unveiled.
The two organizations state that the aim of the initiative is to enhance access to the internet for everyone. Facebook is the financier while Internet Solution Kenya, formerly Access Kenya, is the service provider.
Express Wi-Fi Kenya is expected to be a low-cost internet solution that will allow subscribers to access affordable data.
Already, Surf has rolled out over 100 Express Wi-Fi hotspots in several parts of Nairobi and neighboring regions. These include Ngong, Mlolongo, Kiambu, Limuru, Kiserian and Kitengela. This service is expected to be unveiled in Kisumu and Mombasa soon.
This service is not to be confused with Free Basics which offers people free basic internet services for health, education, jobs, and communication. The Free Basics service has been rolled out to millions of people across Africa and Latin America.
The Wi-Fi hotspots are currently available in places of work, transit, or entertainment joints. This service can be access by anyone with a Wi-Fi enabled handset.
Customers will be able to access Express Wi-Fi service in local shops as Surf is looking to work with various local businesses that can sell the service.
There are three main Express Wi-Fi data packages: Daily, Weekly, and Monthly.
Below is the breakdown:
Ksh. 10 – 40MB
Ksh. 20 – 100MB
Ksh. 50 – 300MB
Ksh. 100 – 500MB
Ksh. 200 – 1.25GB
Ksh. 500 – 3GB
This is definitely a cheaper option compared to what most ISPs in Kenya offer especially if it comes with robust connectivity. The tricky is that you have to exercise caution with hotspots for security reasons. Regardless, Safaricom, Orange, and Airtel may have to come up with something much better. Like Yesterday.
At the moment, Surf is offering promotional offers for new and potential customers. The introductory promotion includes 100MBs free every day for 10 days. This is just to give you a taste of what you will get once you sign up.
With Express Wi-Fi hotspot, you can access Facebook Flex (Not to be confused with Safaricom’s FLEX) and Free Basics for free. These include a collection of useful sites particularly those focusing on news, employment, health, and education.
Express Wi-Fi Project in India
Kenya is not the only beneficiary of the Express W-Fi project since Facebook has already taken an interest in rural India. Earlier, Free Basics was banned in India due to concerns over net neutrality. The social media and networking company, however, seems to be on track with Express Wi-Fi as it has been testing the service with multiple ISP in India.
After the ban, Mark Zuckerberg seemed optimistic that one day, India and other parts of the world would be connected to the internet. A statement posted on his official Facebook page on February 10th 2015 read in part,
“…One day, we will connect everyone, and the power of the internet will serve every community across India and the world. That Day is coming”.
Well, I guess that day is fast approaching if the latest developments are anything to go by.