On Wednesday Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Limited (KETRACO) signed a 10-year partnership with Liquid Telecom Kenya to operate KETRACO’s optical ground wire (OPGW) fibre cable and expand the internet network across East Africa.
According to a company statement, the partnership will begin by upgrading fibre connections to Kenyan areas already connected to the national grid with high voltage lines of 132kV and above, which include Garissa, Isiolo, Garsen, Lamu, Rabai, Namanga, Meru, Machakos, Makueni, Wote, Sultan Hamud, Mwingi, Konza, Kitale, Eldoret, Kisii and Kisumu.
It will then extend fibre connections to remote areas of Kenya and neighbouring countries including Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi, as well as the eastern region of Congo.
KETRACO’s managing director FCPA Fernandes Barasa, said: “We are delighted to be doing more than extending power lines. With KETRACO and Liquid Telecom coming together, we are now taking fibre to where it has never been before whilst diversifying our company’s revenue base.”
Power transmission infrastructure
More countries in East Africa are now moving to leverage their power transmission infrastructure to carry internet data on the earthing cable already used to transmit power regulation data.
In 2014, the Communication Authority of Kenya granted KETRACO a license for a Network Facility Provider Tier 2 (NFPT2). Since then, the power utility has developed the specification and run a tender process for the management and development of the combined network, which has now resulted in the 10-year deal with Liquid Telecom Kenya.
KETRACO operates as a national long haulier of fibre that the telecoms company will now commercialise to meet the rising demand for high-bandwidth, video and internet services for businesses and individual consumers across the country and East African region.
KETRACO transmission network
Currently, KETRACO runs a 1,791.5km electricity transmission network within Kenya and by 2020, the company will have completed construction of over 8,000km of high voltage transmission lines with concurrent fibre connectivity. These include the 127km 400kV Kenya–Uganda, the 612km 500kV Ethiopia–Kenya and the 93km 400kV Kenya-Tanzania interconnectors. Read more...
Also commenting on the partnership, George Kuria, Liquid Telecom’s Infrastructure Build & Deployment General Manager (East Africa), noted that: “A resilient telecommunications network requires reliable connectivity, and KETRACO’s overhead fibre cable is a technology that is far superior to buried fibre or microwave connectivity.”
“This new backbone fibre cable will significantly expand our network and add resilience to our internet connectivity with a limitless capacity to carry any amounts of data bandwidth. We will invest in high-capacity equipment at the terminating points to ensure we achieve the largest data capacity possible and serve the region with the fastest and most stable internet ever achieved in East Africa.”
Read more about 'Reaping the rewards of fibre optic' in ESI Africa Issue 4 2017 - authored in associatoin with the African Utilities Technology Council (AUTC).
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