Why home internet is the next big thing

Increasing residential fibre connections have been associated with the entry of over the top content providers in Kenya


23 Mar 2018 . 1,802 Views

Home Internet in Kenya is tipped by researchers to grow by double digits this year spurred on by increasing demand for on-demand content.

Media consumption not only in Kenya but across the globe is increasingly happening in digital formats.

Besides the rapid rise of on demand content, the increase in the number of devices capable of supporting digital media along with increasing internet access speed, experts say, have provided consumers with an option to access media content of their choice be it information, entertainment or social activity anytime, anywhere.

As such, content service providers are trying to drive maximum value from their subscription model by designing their content offering structure in terms of premium content that can be niche or exclusive and the user can pay and watch the content of his interest.

They are providing flexibility to pay subscription on daily, weekly, monthly, or long-term basis. These players are trying to find the sweet spot pricing for the value offered with which they can maximize the revenues.

“The steady rise in broadband speeds has facilitated the rise of the online subscriber,” says Deloitte in a new study that predicts home internet will be a common feature going forward among households not only globally but in Kenya too.

“A mixture of cellular and fixed wireless access technologies could lead to 30-40 per cent of the population relying on wireless for data at home by 2022, an increase from only 10 per cent in 2013,” adds the Deloitte study.

Increasing residential fibre connections have been associated with the entry of over-the-top content providers into Kenya.

They digital media players include the new entrant by Royal Media services Viusasa, Netflix, arguably the king of online streaming, Naspers owned Showmax, America’s Amazon video streaming service, Nigeria’s IROKOtv and Malaysia based iflix.

These players are challenging the traditionally maintained supremacy of Kenyan television as the main entertainment hub but also boosting uptake for home internet.Official statistics show fibre-optic Internet subscriptions nearly tripled in the year through last September, reflecting the aggressive investments in expanding connections to Kenyan homes.

Data from the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) shows that there were 90,534 fibre subscriptions at the end of September in comparison to the 33,269 recorded at the end of September 2016.

While this figure is comprehensive of both fibre-to-the-home and fibre-to-the-office, there has been a flurry of activity over the last one year as companies compete to connect residential properties.

The CA expects that video-on-demand will continue to drive fibre adoption and deeper penetration of data in Kenya.

“In future, more entertainment services such as Netflix will be delivered over broadband resulting in higher demand for broadband-based services which will likely foster the growth of fibre-optic services,” says the CA.

During the year to last September, the number of overall data subscriptions in Kenya grew 20.3 per cent from 25.7 million to 30.9 million.

Safaricom is among players angling for the Kenyan data market share and has been increasing its investments in fibre, establishing a home department that is primarily tasked with connecting residential properties.

Last November, Safaricom said it had passed more than 90,000 homes.

Last month, Safaricom signed a partnership with iflix in a deal that saw Safaricom customers’ access free content for two months. Iflix subscribers using Safaricom internet would have access to TV shows including comedy and international and local films free of charge over the period.

iflix has over 220 studio and distributor partnerships worldwide. To enjoy the 60-day free internet TV, subscribers needed to register by March 19.

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