I am a customer of Safaricom’s ever-growing Home Fibre product, which has, until to date, been hugely reliable. The service is insanely popular among its customers in Nairobi and Central Kenya for one key reason: reliability. Lately, however, the number of people who have been subject to poor service has grown, and according to the complaints seen on social media platforms, the issues surrounding Home Fibre are not isolated cases.
— Safaricom Care (@Safaricom_Care) November 28, 2018
What happened to concurrent downloads and web sessions?
To begin with, I have a 10 Mbps subscription, which should serve me just for my undemanding tasks. Most of my media consumption happens online, which implies I hardly download huge files unless it is absolutely necessary. However, the ease of browsing and downloading files, large or otherwise appears to have been affected for some time now. Specifically, if you are saving a file from the internet, you are neither going to open any new tabs nor refresh existing ones seamlessly unless the download has completed.
Why are you guys doing this? You are limiting Internet speeds on home fibre when one device is downloading a huge file the other devices can't access Internet!! This is unprofessional! @Safaricom_Care @kingori_IV
— Mckenzie (@MYKGITHUKA) November 28, 2018
I also noticed that I cant use any other device when I have a huge download taking place. This week I was downloading a game (41gb) and I could only do it when i was not in my house. Cc @SamGBill
— G M Sam (@Kedirah) November 29, 2018
I actually learned of this issue from a friend before putting it to test. It is true after running a number of tests for a couple of days. It should be noted that downloads hit their normal speeds based on my plan (about 1.5 MB/sec for 10 Mbps), but what is puzzling is why I cannot access other services as I used to in the past. A couple of other users have reported the same behaviour, which is a very worrying trend, to say the least.
So I was downloading this file (capacity: 1.74GB) this morning. As soon as IDM started the download process, I lost connectivity on all my phones and I couldn't do anything else on Chrome on my computer. OneDrive stopped syncing. WTF? pic.twitter.com/u6LHCBU66N
— 𝖊 𝖈 𝖍 𝖊 𝖓 𝖟 𝖊 (@echenze) November 10, 2018
Poor connection on multiple devices
This has been a concern for me for near two months now, and I even moved my router to a new spot expecting different results; the connection is still below par. For context, I do have less than five devices, sometimes three or less connected to the router at any given time. Of course, that is a small number, which should be fine because my connection can handle more devices without putting a strain on the available bandwidth. Well, I have had problems: say media is streaming on my television and my computer; I can’t perform the same action, say check a YouTube video or perform any other action on my phone without experiencing slow connections. This was never the case in the past. The issue is also related to the first case, where an action, say a download in once device affects the speed of the other. Not cool at all.
Frequent drops and generally slow speeds
On several occasions, users, some of who use their Home Fibre normally (browsing, YouTube, occasional streaming and so forth) have reported weak connections that last into days. That is unusual for a service that is associated with consistency, and the primary reason people subscribe to it is that Safaricom has made a name for itself by offering robust services. It is, therefore, a little disheartening when customers invest their funds and energy (I know a lot of people who have had to relocate to areas served by Home Fibre) only to be served by mediocre experiences that have since been relegated to competitors.
Mine is just regular use ata, it's extremely slow and the connection very weak. Hopefully this can be sorted out.
— Miss Okal (@JuneOkal) November 29, 2018
It should be noted that these painful experiences have only been identified by consumers. The telco has not said anything about it, nor has it announced any revisions regarding the product’s offerings in its terms and conditions. A little more honesty and communication go a long way in addressing most of the raised concerns, and the ordinary ‘send us your number for further assistance’ or ‘check your speeds using Ookla’ responses on Twitter do not help at all. In fact, what makes the affected groups angrier is the effect of the Financial Act 2018 that saw a significant jump in the fees set aside for their fibre needs (the telco is running giving users an 18% discount until Dec 12). The increase in monthly billing gives us the right to demand more from the Home Fibre team that has the ability to innovate and create a more favourable consumer climate when using the service.
We would love to hear your experiences in the comments section below.