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Kenya Power eyes telcos in 600km internet cables plan

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Kenya Power workers. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The electricity distributor is looking for a contractor for the extension programme that will take 36 months.

Kenya Power #ticker:KPLC plans to lay an additional 600.5 kilometres of fibre optic cable network to lease to telcos as the demand for internet rises in Covid-19 era.

The utility firm, which currently owns more than 4,000 kilometres of the cable on its high voltage power lines, is looking for a contractor for the extension programme that will take 36 months.

“KPLC fibre optic cable network is growing at a very fast rate to meet internal primary telecommunication needs as well as to serve external customers who lease fiber capacity,” says the company.

“KPLC intends to extend its fibre optic cable network to its commercial centers and substations using all-dielectric self-supporting fiber optic cable for improved data connectivity and a small portion with optical ground wire.”

The planned extension comes in the wake of a surge in demand for Internet services as companies continue to direct employees to work from home and people spent most of their time in the houses to lower risks of contracting coronavirus.

The cables will be installed below the high and medium voltage power lines.

Kenya Power uses the cables to manage the national grid and leases the excess capacity to telecoms service providers such as Safaricom, Airtel, Liquid Telecom and Jamii Telecommunications.

The utility booked Sh524.4 million as fibre optic leasing income in the financial year ended last June, a 6.4 per cent growth from Sh492.86 billion.

Since launch in 2010, Kenya Power has cumulatively earned Sh3.02 billion from the fibre leasing business, with revenues growing each year.

Tender documents show that the fibre extension works have been divided into two lots.

The first lot targets 277.5 kilometres and will cover Coast, Nairobi, northeastern and Mount Kenya regions while the second one will add 323 kiolometres in Central Rift, North Rift, western and South Nyanza regions.