Speed Test: Zuku 8Mbps VS Faiba 5Mbps
I recently had the opportunity to have two fiber to the home (FTTH) Internet connections. These are the Zuku 8Mbps Internet connection which I have had for over 2 years (and has subsequently been upgraded to 10Mbps for new customers) and a Jamii Telecom (JTL) Faiba 5Mbps internet connection which I have had for just about a month. The Zuku service costs approximately Kes. 4,000.00 per month and includes cable TV and a phone line (ala triple play) whereas the Faiba service costs Kes. 5,000.00 per month just for the Internet service.
On the surface of it, it would appear that Zuku has the better deal since you get faster(?) bandwidth as well as cable TV and phone services for Kes. 1,000.00 less compared to Faiba. Now, I must confess that the only reason that I did get Faiba to begin with is that the Zuku service had been really horrible for weeks on end and I kept finding myself having to resort to Safaricom 3G which only happens to work on my balcony at home – not convenient, ideal or cost-effective. I needed to try out Faiba after many professed it was much much better than Zuku. For someone who does lots of work at home I simply needed a better ‘always on’ and uncapped Internet connection I could actually rely on. So, I bit the bullet and signed up, somewhat painfully so, for the Faiba service.
One huge upside of having both Zuku and Faiba Internet connections at home active at the same time is I was able to more or less objectively compare the two side by side for a couple of weeks. The truth be said having been on Zuku’s fibre service for over 2 years I had experienced everything from hyperspeed bandwidth (no kidding!) all the way down to a slow, erratic and unreliable service. The caveat all along had been the (perceived?) pain and inconvenience of trying alternatives in the market such as the said Faiba, which as far as I know is the only other FTTH service available in my area (no thanks WIMAX!).
In doing my comparisons, Zuku generally worked as well(?) as Faiba on most occasions, or so I thought. Indeed there was an incident where Zuku was up and Faiba was down for almost a whole day which confirms that the Internet can be something of a lottery in Kenya irrespective of which ISP you use? I tried downloads as well as uploads and it was somewhat difficult to determine which service was actually better than the other. So, to make the testing conclusive, I ran speed tests on various occasions and this is what I got:
Zuku 8Mbps Speed Test:
Faiba 5Mbps Speed Test:
In concluding, Faiba was able to achieve consistently faster speeds than Zuku even though the 5Mbps service from Faiba is actually supposed to be slower than Zuku’s 8Mbps service. Secondly, the Faiba service was only marginally ‘off’ what it should have been (as advertised?) whereas Zuku was working at less than 50% of the bandwidth it was meant to deliver. Ultimately, in terms of value for money, it would appear that Faiba is the better proposition, not to mention I have found it to be much more reliable (to-date?) than Zuku.