In the announcement of FY 2016/17 financial results, telco Safaricom revealed its fiber to the home offering connected 53,000 households. Since the announcement in March, the firm has managed to grow the number to more than 83,000 households.
Nancy Matimu, Safaricom’s Head of Home & Content department says the company’s ambition is to reach millions of households with access to a high speed, high quality internet service.
Safaricom Home fibre is now live in over 1,000 estates around the country. Expansion has also moved beyond Nairobi into Kisumu, Eldoret, Mombasa, Nyeri, Thika and Kiambu. The connected households can now access broadband services at speeds of up to 40Mbps but the Sh 2500 (5mbs) package is the most popular.
“We have 12 Million households in the country and fiber is in less 300,000 homes at the moment. We have a bold mission of connecting millions and we are working very hard to achieve this”, Ms Matimu told The Kenyan Wall Street in a recent interview.
It is this bold mission that has seen the telco adopt a different strategy to drive uptake of its fiber offering. Ideally, Internet service providers require the customers to pay for installation as well as the equipment. In the case of Safaricom fiber, the customer pays for the bundle they want, with no extra charges incurred for the installation.
“We want to eliminate any barriers hindering consumers from accessing internet within their homes. We have also priced the product in a way that allows us to recover these charges over a long period of time,” she added.
Convergence has been an important aspect in driving the uptake of such as services, which Safaricom will likely pursue soon. Nancy says the firm would like to offer customers convergence in product delivery primarily driven by the Safaricom big box. The same will be offered in terms of payments, by bundling a customer’s services into a single bill for their convenience.
According to Nancy, Safaricom Home Fiber will serve as an important point of entry into the consumer homes with the long term plan being pursuing the internet of things. “The future we think about is actually now,” she says. The internet of things strategy is being pursued through Smart Homes, which will include home surveillance systems and utility management solutions such as gas meters. The Safaricom Big box will also play an important role by acting as a point of convergence to centralize all these functions.
“We will continue to learn from the best in the world and with this space very fluid and dynamic, apply the best learnings to offer quality service to our customers.”
Safaricom’s fibre broadband services enables multiple users in a home or business to access the internet, download and share large files at the same time and more quickly than ever before.