What are some of the things you’d consider when settling for a home Internet Service Provider?
What are some of the things you’d consider when deciding which particular package to go with?
Answers to the above questions will vary by person, what they do and their needs. And that’s fine. That is why we have a number of ISPs in the country. For whichever ISP you end up going with, that is why they have different packages for different users and their unique needs.
However, in all that, three things usually stand out for me: value, speed and reliability. And, since we just want to use the internet for our various needs and not dabble as network technicians as well, throw in customer service.
For the most part, as a user, I have been able to get all these four considerations from my current ISP (Safaricom) and their product (Safaricom Home Fibre). If you’re a user of the product, what has your experience been?
Value and Speed
Personally, I am not the most ideal user to benchmark against. My usage patterns and demands teeter mostly on the extreme side of things. I am one of the heavy users out there.
Even then, for most of my nearly 5-year journey using Safaricom Home Fibre, I have been stuck on what they call the Silver package. Your mileage may vary. Evaluate your needs and see what the correct package for you is here.
Until a year ago when Safaricom adjusted its offerings to cater to the surge in usage occasioned by the pandemic and more people staying and schooling and working from home, the Silver package had speeds of up to 10Mbps.
The onset of the pandemic and products geared towards making the most difficult of times bearable saw those speeds doubled to 20Mbps – and they’re now here to stay.
What has that got to do with me?
Well, for someone who demands more from what they are offered, it is highly likely that what has worked for me, might as well work for you. As you will read below, one moment I am a fly in the wall of a European football match analysis studio and the next, I am on an adventure in Red Dead Redemption 2, trying to catch a train in the middle of nowhere, abandoned carts, horses and all.
In short, I have stuck around because I believe I have been getting value for my money and, for the most part, that should be the same thing you get when you sign up – for those who haven’t, yet, joined the over 350,000 homes currently covered – or stay on, for already-existing customers.
Reliability is relative but, you want a provider and a service that is there for you almost all the time. For the most part, Home Fibre gets you that.
For many of us, this is probably one of the areas where Safaricom’s product shines.
These days, when the inevitable happens and your connection, for one reason or the other is lost, Safaricom will notice it probably even before you do. Then you will get a text message alerting you of the same. Or even a phone call from one of their customer service representatives. Next step? A technician will be assigned to you and probably be in your house before long. In the meantime, they will give you at least 10 gigabytes of data to continue doing what you do in the wake of the disruption.
So, I woke up to no internet this morning. My internet misbehaving again, I thought. Not wanting to leave my bed, I just turned on my hotspot, connected my devices na nikaendelea na ibada. 2 hours later, customer care calls to tell me there’s something wrong with my connection.
— E. Chenze (@echenze) October 25, 2020
Got sorted in record time! 24 hours is just the SLA. I was contacted by the assigned technician at around noon. They were here an hour later and they've spent the last hour fixing it. Now I'm sorted. Ready for today's PL matches. pic.twitter.com/8CXRcbsgp9
— E. Chenze (@echenze) October 25, 2020
Had an issue with my Home Fibre this morning – the usual LOS. Had the best service I've experienced so far. There was a technician at my door 45 minutes after I reported it. Also, the system had flagged it and notified me before I even realized what was happening. Good job!
— E. Chenze (@echenze) April 12, 2021
Need to relocate from your current residence to another place? Just call the customer service team (there are various ways of getting in touch but my preferred mode remains dialing 400 on my phone) and they will get you sorted. They request for a 48-hour window to handle your issues but, my experience has been, under 24 hours is mostly what they will stick to.
Now, what can you do with it?
We are just fresh from a super-competitive club football season. Guess what has been the best and most cost-efficient and/or convenient way of watching our favourite football clubs battle it out for top honours in the just-ended season?
Online, of course. Streaming.
Now, depending on how you have set up yourself for your entertainment needs, this could be two-fold: either using channels like those provided by the officially licensed distributors of the said football content and coverage in our region or going for any one of the many other options available online.
For people going with option 1, the advantage is that rain or no rain, you get to your football match in all its high-definition glory (this is dependent on what the broadcaster is offering and not your home internet connection) at home. Even better, should you be far away from home, you can easily do that on your mobile device or, if at another residence, simply sign in and carry on.
For those going with the latter option, they find themselves in a good place where they can choose and not be limited to the solo licensed provider in their region. This is true of football as it is of Formula 1 (where Formula 1 TV offers a great alternative to how we have been used to watching our favourite drivers and team race) and the NBA (the NBA Game Pass is fantastic). All these are legitimate ways of watching your favourite sports from the comfort of your home in a consistent and reliable manner that is not just tied to your stay there.
Then there’s the usual: Netflix, Showmax, Amazon Prime Video… Heck, even Safaricom itself has some skin in the game now.
Schools have opened and, unlike how it was last year when all students were at home, they are now at school and everything is going on fine.
However, this is where having a constant and reliable home internet connection makes it worth the while: when they drop in for breaks, like they just did the other weekend, or, for the day scholars, when they get home in the evening, this is what allows them to get on with their schoolwork at no added cost, something that all parents and guardians juggling between what they have to do daily and taking care of the needs of the new competency-based curriculum (CBC) know too well.
And who said learning is limited to just those who are going to regular school?
One can pick up a new skill courtesy of the many platforms where such trainings are offered. From YouTube to the likes of Khan Academy (also on YouTube, alongside other platforms), Linda.com (now known as LinkedIn Learning) to Udemy to SkillShare to Coursera to Masterclass (also now available on Android TV) and many others that may be worth considering. Online courses tend to be heavy on providing learning content on video and, for a more consistent experience, I have found, a home internet connection is, perhaps, the best way to go about it.
Are you even working if you don’t spend at least an hour daily in some form of virtual meeting?
Zoom, Teams, Meet and, now, FaceTime, have been front and centre of keeping us connected with not just friends and family but, also, work colleagues. In fact, save for the likes of FaceTime, Google’s Duo and the video-calling features of social apps like Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp and others, Zoom, Microsoft’s Teams and Google’s Meet, to many, now represent the business-side of things and the formality that comes with it.
Limitations in physical interactions haven’t meant limitations in getting the work done, thanks to these tools.
My experience working from home using these tools has shown me that, my Safaricom Home Fibre connection (still sticking with the Silver package) is one I can rely upon to get me from one meeting to the next, day-to-day, without any hiccups. If you are looking for that kind of consistency and reliability (this is also tied to your electricity provider staying reliable, by the way) then the choice is a no-brainer at this point.
To get started on Safaricom Home Fibre, whether you are a new customer or you have been off the service for a while and would wish to be reconnected, dial *400# on your phone.
Safaricom is throwing in a Kshs 3,000 redeemable voucher which gets activated after 6 months of consecutive usage of the service. The Kshs 3,000 will be loaded to offset the amount payable for the monthly subscription during the fourth and seventh months in instalments of Kshs 1,500 each.