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Key Factors to consider when choosing an internet service provider ISP in Kenya.

 

Key factors to Consider when choosing an internet service provider in Kenya

Internet demand in Kenya is increasing day by day both in business and at home. Many businesses now rely on the internet for various business transactions including sales, service delivery, customer care and so much more. 

On the other hand many people now use the internet as their primary source of entertainment at home, something that has been expounded by introduction of smart devices as well as streaming services like Netflix, Showmax and YouTube among others. Sometimes internet is even much cheaper than traditional Paytv services in the country.

An internet service provider; commonly known as ISP providers are companies that provide internet services to individuals or other companies both at home or at business premises. 

These ISPs use one or many of the internet connections which are cable internet, DSL, fiber, Satellite or Wimax. 

There are already a number of ISPs (Internet Service providers) in Kenya some being stand-alone internet providers like POA! Internet while many of them provide other Telecommunications services like Safaricom. You can check our article on Top Internet Providers in Kenya for a long list of these providers and their rates.

If you are in need of an internet connection in your home or at the office, there are a number of Key factors you should consider when choosing an ISP provider, and while they are almost the same in other parts of the world the first factors like availability and customer care might be only specific for our case here in Kenya and maybe other developing countries.

key factors to consider when choosing an ISP provider are:

  • Availability.
  • Customer care.
  • Cost.
  • Reliability
  • Speed. 

1.availability.

This is the Key deciding factor when selecting an ISP in Kenya, and is easy to see why. While there are many Internet providers in the country, many provide their services in specific parts of key cities and towns in Kenya like Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Kisumu and Eldoret. If you are lucky to live in these cities and major towns in the country you might be lucky but you also need to check if they cover your region or estate, otherwise you might end up not getting connected or getting unreliable internet.

The options get even fewer when in rural areas, and therefore you must take your time to check which ISP is available in your region and the reliability of their connection. 

One of the key terms and conditions of Safaricom Home is that you must be living within any of the Safaricom Home Zones. This is also the case for all other fixed internet providers in Kenya.

Many ISPs have a tool in their websites where you can check the availability of their services by entering your area or estate or you can contact them for assistance on this.

2. Customer care.

Once you have selected a number of ISPs available in your region, the next best thing to do would have been to consider their pricing, but based on our experience in this field we have realized that customer relations is the next major factor after availability when selecting an internet provider at home or for business. 

Many of these providers usually respond very well to your queries and issues prior to making the first payment which is usually the connection fee for most of these ISPs. Once that is done, the story becomes totally different, and you might be surprised that they will always give you a reason why they haven’t connected you so far while some rude ones might totally decide to ignore your calls altogether.

Once you get connected you might also be in need of technical support or assistance to solve some basic conncetivity issues, and it will be good to have a provider that is not only quick to pick your calls, but also quick enough to respond to technical issues as well. Otherwise you might lose a lot considering that most of these providers charge their services monthly, most of them also being pre-paid.

In order to know which ISP has good customer relations and good technical support it is good to check the way they handle customer queries on their Social media handles and the way customers rate their services. Please note that some of them especially the new ones might be tempted to use some tricks like paying some people to give positive ratings about their services, so you must take your time here and excessive due diligence.

3. Cost.

After making a list of Internet providers present in your region or estate and confirming their customer care response, the next step is to check their rates and see which one offer the cheapest rates. Many of these ISPs charge per month for specific bandwidths. For example company A might charge Ksh. 3,000 for 3Mbps while company B charges 4,500 for the same 3Mbps. While company B might look much cheaper than A, their internet connection might not be as reliable as A and that’s why they are much cheaper, and this is where you go to the next step;

4. Reliability.

While going for the cheapest internet service provider looks like the best thing to do, getting unreliable internet connection will be very expensive at the long run since you might loose a lot of customers in terms of business and will be a source of stress and frustration if you can’t use it for entertainment at home. Imagine you’re on Zoom or such platform with a client, and are about to get a business deal then your connection gets interrupted or terminated due to a poor internet connection. Also consider sitting on your couch on a Saturday afternoon to watch your favorite match or tv program only to realize you can’t stream it live because your internet is down. These are some costly effects of having an unreliable internet connection, and that’s why you must ensure you get a trusted internet service provider. 

If you are in a region where there are a number of fixed internet providers, ensure you check which connection method specific providers use. A fiber connection is usually the best over other methods like WiMAX or DSL since it is much faster, has low latency and is more stable.

Many ISPS have what are known as Service Level Agreements (SLA) which are binding contract agreements you must sign before being connected. These SLA covers things like maximum bandwidth allocation, uptime availability as well as extra charges in case you exceed your  monthly bandwidth allocation for the case of unlimited Connectivity. While many of these providers will never take their time to explain these details before getting connected, it is very important to make sure you take your time to read through them and get proper advise before signing these binding Agreements.

Make sure you take your time to read and understand the Fair Usage Policy if one exists, usually found under terms and conditions of service. Such Fair Usage Policy dictate how much bandwidth you are allocated per month for a specific package, and the consequences of exceeding the allocated limit. For example Safaricom's Bronze package offers 8Mbps bandwidth, but limited to a fair usage limit of 500GB per month. Upon exceeding this limit your bandwidth will drop to 1Mbps.

 5. Speed.

Internet speed is usually measured using bandwidths, and that’s why ISPs charge their products per Mbps or Gbps. While the type of Conncetivity might affect your usage experience due to latency issues, the amount or speed of the internet you need is largely determined by what you want to use it for. If you need an internet connection for sending and reading emails as well as light browsing, then the basic package might do the job, but if you need a connection for heavy browsing, uploading content or high quality streaming then you might need a much more expensive package.

Please note that while many ISPs give the maximum uplink and download speeds, they rarely tell you the minimum speeds and you must therefore take time to read through their Service Level Agreements.

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