- As middle- and low-income Kenyans increasingly have access to the internet, a budding industry of small service providers
- However, an internet provider operating in Nairobi’s Eastland area has blamed an increase in receiver thefts.
- Replacing power beams costs a lot, and thieves usually sell them at single-use prices.
Nairobi’s internet service provider has accused an increasing number of thefts of residential rooftop Wi-Fi gadgets.
Thieves target Wi-Fi receivers
These gadgets are popular among small internet providers operating in low and middle income areas.
talk TUKO.co.keKevin Alciola, who works around Tasia, said rampant theft was eating into profits.
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“In the last two months alone, we lost about five power beams. With a single gadget costing 20,000 KSh, we’re barely making a profit.”
According to Alusiola, the theft is due to unemployed youth and a ready market for the devices.
“On the black market, such a gadget could sell for as low as KSh 2,000.”
Ahmed Mukhsin, another internet provider operating in Donholm Phase 5, corroborated Alusiola’s statement.
“There has been a recent spike in thefts, which has forced us to re-evaluate where to place our power beams. We are choosing rooftop sections that are less accessible.”
Both internet providers say most thefts occur at night, indicating cooperation between tenants and thieves.
Pipeline resident James Omwala is suspected of stealing a power beam from a neighbor.
“I live on a rooftop and when the device went missing, I had just moved, so I was the first suspect.”
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However, CCTV footage cleared him of the charge.
“Most of us cannot afford CCTV cameras to deter theft,” says Mukhsin.
Pipeline residents using torches during the day
Residents of Eastland face a myriad of challenges, including poor lighting and poor ventilation.
For example, residents of Nairobi’s most densely populated Pipeline must use torches during the day.
One resident said, “We have to keep the lights on during the day because there is no natural light.”
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