US Internet startups Google and Facebook have upped stakes in battle for the control of Kenya’s internet market after Google opened its Nairobi office with Sh10 billion.
Broadband infrastructure company established by Google, CSquared has set its sites on Kenya months after Facebook partnered with Internet Service Provider Surf to offer affordable internet in Kenya.
“We believe that together under CSquared we can get more done to roll-out and operate affordable, high-speed, and reliable infrastructure to expand Internet access in Africa,” Marian Croak, vice-president at Google said.
After establishing high speed networks in Uganda and Ghana, CSquared is leveraging the fat wallets of financiers including parent firm Google, Convergence Partners, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and Mitsui & Co, Japan’s second-largest trading house.
It is not clear when the two companies will make true their earlier claims to beam free internet in rural Africa using satellites and drones.
The investments that could reduce the cost of internet will also increase competition to local players who see data as their next revenue earner as voice revenues plateau.
Facebook working alongside Surf are providing wifi hostports to peri-urban Nairobi at lower rates and home internet connections in some estates of the city.
The entry of the two is expected to cut prices for users helping to open up limitless opportunities for the less fortunate including education, work, networking and many others.