Today, in Ongata Rongai, Surf and Facebook have officially launched Express Wi-Fi in Kenya. The service has been in testing for close to two months now. The two organizations behind the initiative, believe that access to internet should be available and affordable for everyone. Facebook is funding the project and Internet Solution Kenya, formerly Access Kenya, is the service provider.
Surf has already rolled out more than 100 Express Wi-Fi hotspots in several communities in the surburbs of Nairobi including Ongata Rongai, Limuru, Kiserian, Kitengela, Kiambu, Mlolongo, Ngong, Ruaka, Thika and Wangige. Starting this week, the Express Wi-Fi service will also be available in Kisumu and Mombasa, with many more towns to come.
Surf says that the wi-fi hotspots are currently focused in areas where people gather for work, transit or entertainment such as markets, matatu stages and “chill spots”. Anyone with a wi-fi capable device can use Express Wi-Fi without switching SIM cards or having a data plan.
Surf is working with local entrepreneurs to host and sell the Express Wi-Fi service. The entrepreneurs offer the service around their locations and customers can buy a range of packages:
40 mb – Ksh.10
100 mb – Ksh.20
300 mb – Ksh.50
500 mb – Ksh.100
1.25GB – Ksh.200
3GB – Ksh.500
Surf is offering an introductory promotion, where every new customer gets 100MBs free, every day for 10 days, guaranteeing that the customers can experience the service as soon as they sign up.
In addition, anyone connected to an Express Wi-Fi hotspot can access Facebook Flex (No, not Safaricom Flex) and FreeBasics – a collection of websites including content such as news, employment, health, education and local information – for free while connected to the Express Wi-Fi network.
While the question of security when it comes to public wi-fi hotspots is another endless discussion, there’s no denying that Express Wi-Fi’s prices are very appealing.
Safaricom, Airtel and Orange, your move.