How can one start a small ISP for say 100-1000 users?

How can one start a small ISP in Kenya. Am looking at these crowded estates without Zuku or Safaricom. If you got constant 100-500 users, can you run a business?

Start as a reseller for the existing juggernauts. Or register with the government and use their fibre backbone. Either way, hefty fee is a must, but the former option is “friendlier” for your 1000 clients. There are many resellers around, join the movement :grin:


Great. Any reseller opportunity you know of?

Try Liquid Telecom. First fiber in our hood came from their reseller.

Thank you…

Kozi is also riding on their back and they’re taking over Tassia like grass on fire

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Before thinking
Power back up(solar)
Backhaul fibre
Back up internet

*don’t register with CAK

Also be ready for equipment disappearing in thin air depending with location


My 2 cents about the business …You are at the mercy of your so called partners or who you are reselling from. They will one day wake up and realize there is a substantial market, the risks aren’t too considerable and it results to precious recurring revenue per month and they can maybe recoup their investment not too long …
Just look over at the current discussion over at Safaricom fibre vs Zuku


Use of fiber saves you from such risks.

to be at mercy of SLICER?

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How many times does that occur? Liquid Telecom resellers in our hood haven’t experienced that since they set up shop in our hood.

Having recently consulted for an IPTV service provider I’m going to touch on 2 ways to go around this.

Lit Fibre - ideally reselling an existing provider
I’ll make use of this context, imagine those guys that buy really fast cars that hit 350KPH. Realistically, the cars have the potential to hit these speeds but in practice they only ever do (when they have a kababes / guy in the car and they’re trying to impress). For the other 98% of the time, they’ll be driving around at slow speeds within their and the roads means.

Lit fibre is basically what you have at home. The ISP comes and gives you some great speeds and tells you its *unlimited, *uncapped and *unshaped. This is a statement that should be taken with a grain of salt as they’re these things on condition that you never make use of them for greater than the 5% I referenced above. And this is fair as it allows the different people relying on the same line to be able to never congest the network at any given time.

Now one could technically pick a large enought backhaul line say 1Gbps and through network infrastructure redistributre this line across their 1000 customers with the expectation that these customers will be light users and thus never again saturate the line. You would need though to note a couple of things

  • you will be shaped. (Safaricom have a point to multipoint infrastructure meaning that the line that arrives at your estate is divided again between yourself and another four users. This is a technical limitation) (Your usage of internet in this manner will most likely breach their terms and conditions meaning that you will again be throttled according to their FUP)
  • you will experience greater latencies. (Lit fibres tend to be low density. Meaning that ISPs tend to have ip and network routing done in a way that’s customer centric i.e having an edge network or logging traffic (have you checked your data usage on Safaricom website?)). Thus ordinarily you would get some extra lag time as the ISP you’re reselling catalogs and tracks your digital footprint
  • your network will get congested Taking the above into consideration, you will definitely hit your up and downstream cap and get bombarded by a trail of angry customers.

Dark Fibre - setting up your own direct transit line
Dark fibre, being the opposite of lit fibre, is ideally all the space on a networks infrastructure that’s been left underutilised. To delve into this, some companies such as Liquid Telecom are dominant players in the Network industry across Africa. When they set their fibre optic cables across countries, they don’t setup 1 or 2 backhaul lines, they do it in such a way that they’re future proof and covering the next couple of 10 or so years so they might do x10 what they actually have a use for. What this means is that we tend to have more capacity as compared to the actual usage of the network. Now what you can do is borrow this extra space and use it as your own.

What you get with Dark Fibre is literally a point to point line that is connected to an ISPs data center which in turn connects to other data centers. This is where the literal definition of uncapped and unshaped bandwidth exists. On top of this you can get burstable speeds. i.e when the ISP detects high usage, you get pushed up to higher speeds up until the network goes silent.

A point to note is that with dark fibre, all you get is a line. The termination and source infrastructure is all on you. Cross connection from your network server to the ISPs is on you. You will also perchance need to purchase IP Addresses to redistribute to your clients / have a DHCP server to do this.

Now definitely, prices for whichever reselling option you pick will significantly differ. The following are quotes I got for setting up a couple of different transit lines.

Dedicated Link Capacity Burstable Capacity Price per Mbps Monthly Base Price
100Mbps 500Mbps 35zar (210kes) 3500zar (~24,000kes)
500Mbps 1 gbps 25zar (150kes) 12500zar (~100,000kes)
1Gbps - 23zar (140kes) 23000zar (~160,000kes)

It only happens when the network is not busy and it only lasts for a short period of time or volume based.

The prices are good though

I love you for this explanation. Will you marry me?

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