Safaricom changes to home fibre ToS

I’ve hesitated to climb into this but – here goes anyway (everything written in personal capacity)

Firstly – almost ALL ISP’s have FUP’s in some form or another – generally buried deep in the T&C’s – as someone stated to me – in the UK with certain ISP’s suddenly your line just gets slow and then when you call support you find yourself quietly diverted to the abuse department.

The fact is that FUP’s are a necessary evil.

1. They prevent customers from reselling one account to multiple other parties while sharing it using NAT – which impacts the financial viability of the service and make its more expensive for everyone else in the end
2. ISP’s operate on contention ratios – if you do not impose some form of FUP – you either have to put up the price or the contention ratios are going to get out of whack – and everyone else is going to suffer.
3. Globally most home accounts use well shy of half a terabyte a month – a terabyte of data is a LOT of data for a single home

So let’s just put some context in what a terabyte of data actually means – and I always use video as the prime gauge of this because it’s the easiest example.

Your average Netflix 4k film runs at ~25mbit at absolute maximum if you are watching 4K on an HDR enabled TV. That’s 22.5 Gigabytes of data every 2 hours – if you watch one 4K 2 hour movie every single day for a month you will eat 675gigs of data. If we drop this to 1080p – which is far more common – you are using ~7 megabit of bandwidth – or 6.3gigs every 2 hours – if you watch 300 hours of 1080p content in a month – or 10 hours a day – you still haven’t hit that cap.

Effectively – you could watch one 4K movie every day for a month – and still watch 150 40minute tv episodes in 1080p in a month – and have room to move.

To look at it from another perspective – installation of something like Ubuntu Linux over the net – you could still over 400 machines on that kinda data load in a month.

With regards to gaming – you may burn 100gig pulling down a game and game updates – but after that in game play you are using tiny amounts of bandwidth and could keep yourself playing easily for a month with space to spare.

On Zoom calls – if you ran zoom 24 hours a day – for a month – you’d use less than 70% of that cap.

Also – I might point out that the FUP’s slow your link down once you hit that cap – to a rate that is still useable if a little sluggish.

Basically what I’m saying in all of this – Safaricom’s FUP and T&C’s to me seem perfectly reasonable and designed to protect the network – with the alternative being – the price goes up for everyone or everyone suffers because of the few when the network congests. Bandwidth aint free – and you can’t have it both ways – the product still has to make financial sense to both the consumer and the provider


From: kictanet <> on behalf of Adam Lane via kictanet <[email protected]>
Date: Thursday, 18 February 2021 at 07:36
To: Andrew Alston <[email protected]>
Cc: Adam Lane <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: [kictanet] Safaricom changes to home fibre ToS
There’s a webinar on this topic today for those interested
A Public Policy Discussion on #HomeFibre and #FairUsage Policies in Kenya.
🗓️ Thursday, 18th February 2021
🕜 12:00PM – 1:30PM
Sign up here:
#LawyersHub #AfricaLawTech #ISP<>

Speakers from CA, Safaricom, Liquid, KICTAnet,

From:Beryl Aidi via kictanet <[email protected]>
To:Adam Lane <[email protected]>
Cc:Beryl Aidi <[email protected]>

Subject:Re: [kictanet] Safaricom changes to home fibre ToS

Thank you Sidney for this.
I don’t think Safaricom is being sincere in this fair usage limits. They promised that with Home Fibre one can stream, download or upload stuff without limits. All you do is pay your monthly subscription. Fair usage is a type of rationing that limits how much you can do when you had been promised that you can do whatever you want. To me this is going back on a promise. It’s reminiscent of the days of unlimited 3GB bundles on the dongle modem only for them to strike you with a fair usage notice. Are other networks doing the same? As the industry leader in the country, this is bound to influence other industry players to adopt the same standards and limits which is not good. Maybe it might be time to seek other options.


Sent from my iPad

On 16 Feb 2021, at 9:47 PM, Mwendwa Kivuva via kictanet <[email protected]<mailto:[email protected]>> wrote:
Thanks Sidney for initiating this debate.

On Tue, 16 Feb 2021 at 19:44, Sidney Ochieng via kictanet <[email protected]<mailto:[email protected]>> wrote:
Not sure if you’ve seen the stir online of changes to the ToS with Safaricom’s home offering.
Safaricom is destroying Home Fibre with new ‘Fair Usage’ Limits:<>

The response from the company has been disappointing in the extreme, misleading with statistics and suggesting that it’s best customers are thieves,
never mind that working for home has lead to increased demand and use of their services.

That tweet certainly does not call resellers thieves. It calls them resellers.

All this is beside the point, at least for this forum, what I’m concerned about this that if we didn’t have an eagle-eyed blogger looking out for this, it would have been completely missed until it was already in place.

So I have a few of questions:

1. Does the CA have any policies around ToS changes around services under their purview and how they are communicated to users?
CA has a consumer and public affairs department. Here is what they have to say about ToC ( CA/CPA/CEP/B/05/2014 )<>

Perhaps CA should update that information. It is 6 years old. But good information nevertheless.

1. Should companies that run what could be considered critical infrastructure be allowed to arbitrarily change their ToS to apply retroactively especially if it’s to the detriment of their customers?
I hope lawyers here can help us with this.

2. If customers choose not to accept a change in ToS what redress do they have given that perhaps the provider is the only one available in their area.
3. Finally, given that we know this could all be avoided if there was more competition in the fibre market, what is the CA doing to make it so that we have more competition in that area? It’s concerning that Safaricom seems to only option for home connections in several places
Determined by the market and economic forces. Just the other day, Safaricom was not in the home fibre market. What they have provided are more options for consumers. Numbers are stubborn facts. Fixed data subscription is as follows: Data source CA, July -September 2020 period, page 19<>
Safaricom PLC 229,406 subscribers, 35.6% market share
Wananchi Group (Kenya) Ltd* 202,237 subscribers , 31.4 35.6% market share
Jamii Telecommunications Ltd 127,914 subscribers , 19.8 Poa % market share
Internet Kenya Ltd 56,824 subscribers ,8.8% market share
Mawingu Networks Ltd 11,087 subscribers, 1.7 % market share
Internet Solutions Kenya Ltd 9,228 subscribers, 1.4 % market share

Consumers are speaking with their wallets.

As a policy discussion list, probably what we should be asking is what is the fair cost for certain broadband packages, and whether there is anything that can be really unlimited. Wearing my competent network engineer hat, I can tell you even at Safaricom, they don’t have unlimited bandwidth. Bandwidth is a limited resource to the extent of the network devices, network media, and cost of acquiring and delivering that bandwidth to your edge device.

Best Regards
Mwendwa Kivuva, Nairobi, Kenya<>
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