Kenya Power plans to connect 12,000 homes with Internet

Kenya Power workers inspect a transmission line. PHOTO | FILE
Kenya Power workers inspect a transmission line. PHOTO | FILE 

Kenya Power targets to connect 12,000 homes in Nairobi with Internet through its fibre optic network in a 12-month pilot that has already kicked off.

The firm, through its subsidiary Kenya Power International, has identified Safaricom as its partner in the project and Tuesday signed an MoU with the telco.

While Safaricom will invest in the fibre business and recover its investment through a lease agreement that is yet to be signed, Kenya Power will provide its vast infrastructure covering 4,000km in length of fibre optic cable.

“The agreement will promote development and improvement of additional telecommunications infrastructure for effective and efficient provision of telecommunications services to both public and private institutions through provision of adequate, reliable and competitively-priced fibre networks,” Kenya Power CEO Ben Chumo said.

Under the partnership, Safaricom will lease Kenya Power’s fibre to roll out “last mile” network, with the aim of connecting more homes to its broadband internet services.

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore said that the project will accelerate the rate of connection to homes, and reduce inconvenience caused by digging trenches to lay the underground fibre optic cable grid.

Already Kenya Power has been leasing out the fibre to Safaricom as its biggest customer. Wananchi Group, Liquid Telecom, Jamii Telecom and Airtel are its other customers.

“This is a project that will help maintain redundancy so that whenever there is a problem there is always reliable and flexible robust network to provide backup,” said Dr Chumo.

Safaricom is experienced in laying fibre and has 3,200km of fibre reaching 7,000 homes. The partnership will further strengthen its capacity to provide faster, affordable and reliable broadband services.

Kenya Power has since 2010 fixed the optical fibre along its high-voltage power lines —traversing through 24 of Kenya’s 47 counties.

The State-owned utility firm earned Sh259.4 million revenue in the year ended June 2015 from leasing out extra capacity on its fibre optic network.  It  now intends to grow this to Sh1 billion by 2017.