Alarm in Eastlands as Thieves Target Wi-Fi Gadgets Mounted on Roofs

  • Middle- and low-income Kenyans increasingly have access to the internet, leading to a budding industry for small service providers
  • However, internet providers operating in Nairobi’s Eastlands area have reported a rise in receiver theft.
  • Replacing electric beams is quite expensive, and thieves usually sell them at throwaway prices

Internet service providers in Nairobi have reported an increase in theft of Wi-Fi gadgets installed on the roofs of residential buildings.

Wi-Fi receiver.
Wi-Fi receivers are being stolen in Eastlands. Photo: @EliteViser.
Source: UGC

Thieves target Wi-Fi receivers

The gadget is popular among small internet providers operating in low-income and middle-income areas.

Talk to you Alusiola, who operates around the Tassia area, said that these rampant thieves are eating into the profits.

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“We have lost about five electricity beams in the last two months alone. With one gadget costing up to KSh 20,000, we are barely making a profit.

According to Alusiola, theft results from unemployed youth and a ready market for the equipment.

“On the black market, such gadgets can be sold for up to KSh 2,000.”

Ahmed Mukhsin, another internet provider, operating in Donholm Phase 5, supported Alusiola’s statement.

“There has been a spike in theft in recent times and this has forced us to re-evaluate where we put the electric beams. We chose parts of the roof that are difficult to access.”

Both internet providers said most of the thefts happened at night and indicated collaboration between tenants and thieves.

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James Omwala, a resident of Pipeline, said he was suspected of stealing electricity poles by his neighbours.

“I live on the roof and when the equipment goes missing, I’m the first suspect when I just leave.”

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However, he was cleared of wrongdoing because of the CCTV footage.

“Most of us cannot afford to install CCTV cameras to prevent theft,” said Mukhsin.

Pipe residents use daytime torches

Residents of Eastlands face many challenges, including poor lighting and ventilation.

For example, residents of Pipeline, Nairobi’s most densely populated area, must use torches during the day.

“I have to keep the light on during the day because there is no natural light,” said one of the residents.

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