This is How Expensive Broadband Speeds Were in Kenya 19 Years Ago

1024kbps connection was over KES 600,000 a month

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We usually take our current broadband speeds for granted. Sure they have become more expensive due to a recent tax slapped on them, but we have decent speeds in the country at what I can say are ‘fair prices.’

However, it wasn’t like this before. As we know, the more a technology advances, the cheaper it gets. The people who manage to get the bleeding edge of any tech pay through the nose for it, and this is shown very well with the pricing.

Tom Makau, a network engineer shared an interesting table of the various service plans that were in service in Kenya in 2001. The speeds and prices are absolutely ridiculous when you look at them from 2020’s perspective


The cheapest service plan was an 8kbps (not a typo) and was a whopping Kshs 6,000 and the most expensive plan was a 1024kbps plan that was a ridiculous Kshs 608,000.

He said that this was Jambonet internet and the total internet backbone for the entire country was a measly 32 Mbps. In comparison, Kenya’s total available capacity in 2020 is 6,241,840 Mbps of which we only utilize 2,720,260 Mbps as per the latest statistics from the Communications Authority. Heck even, the entire 32 Mbps capacity Kenya had back then is what we get as a package nowadays, where the likes of Zuku will happily connect a 30 Mbps  connection for Kshs 5,208 per month.


According to the CA, broadband is defined as data speeds equal or above 256kbps which means back in 2001, you needed to fork over 180,000 per month to get ‘broadband’ speeds.

Thank heavens for the various fiber optic cables that have landed in the country over the past decade that have made our fixed broadband speeds cheaper  and it is not ending any time soon. Facebook for example, is partnered on a $1 billion Pan-Africa undersea cable and recently another one from Djibouti landed in Mombasa.


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