Internet users in Kenya’s Nairobi and Mombasa cities can now enjoy Wi-Fi Internet connection free of interruptions following the roll out of Wazi Wi-Fi initiative by search engine giant Google.
Google communications manager for East Africa Dorothy Ooko said this will make the Net accessible without limitations hence encouraging more consumption.
The initiative is aimed at increasing Internet penetration and bandwidth utilization in Kenya.
“At the moment we have one major partner Wananchi online who has partnered with other businesses across Nairobi and Mombasa but we are also expecting to get into an agreement with other ISPs to connect other towns,” she said.
Already, Wazi Wi-Fi has deployed over 400 hotspots in 200 locations in the two cities. The technology integrates wireless networks from various distributors into a single channel making it easy for subscribers to log in from anywhere between the distributors.
Subscribers of the service will pay from a centralized gateway through various payment methods ranging from mobile money to credit card and debit card payment.
Subscribers looking to use the service have the option of connecting their devices through a daily free 10 minutes option, which allows them to experience the service to a single device, a daily charge of KSh50 (less than US$1) or a monthly charge of KSh500 (approx US$6).
Google says increased access to the Internet will better utilize the broadband available in the country. Currently, about 6 percent of the national Internet capacity of 8400G is under utilization.
“Giving people access to the internet via Wazi Wi-Fi will help improve penetration of the internet and utilization of the capacity we have, that is currently underused. The cost structure of the service helps break the cost barrier, which limits number of people using the internet.” Joseph Mucheru, Google SSA ambassador, said.
Wananchi Group’s Group CTO Riyaz Bachani is in the meantime, in-charge of Wazi WiFi as the ISP remains the biggest partner with other partners including restaurants, cable service providers and mobile network providers.
Before the partnership, WiFi was available in selected restaurants, office buildings and individual created hotspots restricting users to those locations to access the service.