Liquid Telecom to extend fibre in seven countries

Liquid Telecom Kenya chief executive Adil Youssefi. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Liquid Telecom Kenya chief executive Adil Youssefi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Internet service provider Liquid Telecom Kenya is set to extend its fibre optic cables to seven neighbouring countries in a Sh618 million deal signed with the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco).

The State-owned electricity power firm Wednesday entered into a 10-year contract with Liquid Telecom that will see the South African firm sell Internet in Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Eastern Congo and Burundi.

Ketraco plans to lay about 7,000 kilometres of high-voltage lines across the country and for regional interconnection in the next five years, lines which will have fibre-optic infrastructure.

Liquid Telecom will for now upgrade, operate, manage and commercialise Ketraco’s 1,800 kilometres fibre optic cables on existing power lines in a deal where the two will share revenues in a 40:60 ratio respectively.

“With Ketraco and Liquid Telecom coming together, we are now taking fibre to where it has never been before while diversifying our company’s revenue base,” said Fernandes Barasa, Ketraco’s managing director, said in a statement.

Ketraco has been implementing a broadband strategy that involves leasing extra fibre optic capacity. The firm has now opted to partner with third parties to manage the system as it focus on laying power cables.

All electricity transmission lines are fitted with fibre optic to aid communication between generators and control centres.

However, Ketraco utilises about two per cent of its capacity. The firm has currently leased out some capacity to Safaricom and Jamii Telecoms Ltd.

“We will invest in high-capacity equipment to ensure we achieve the largest data capacity possible and serve the region with fast and stable internet,” said George Kuria, Liquid Telecom’s infrastructure general manager in East Africa.