Video-on-demand spurs rise in fibre Internet users


Video editors at the headquarters of Nigeria’s iROKOtv in Lagos: Video-on-demand services have been growing in Kenya. AFP PHOTO | FILE | PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

Fibre-optic Internet subscriptions nearly tripled in the year through last September, reflecting the aggressive investments in expanding connections to Kenyan homes.

Data from the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) shows that there were 90,534 fibre subscriptions at the end of September in comparison to the 33,269 recorded at the end of September 2016.

While this figure is comprehensive of both fibre-to-the-home and fibre-to-the-office, there has been a flurry of activity over the last one year as companies compete to connect residential properties.

Rising residential fibre connections have been associated with the entry of over-the-top content providers into Kenya.

The CA expects that video-on-demand will continue to drive fibre adoption and deeper penetration of data in Kenya.

“In future, more entertainment services such as Netflix will be delivered over broadband resulting in higher demand for broadband-based services which will likely foster the growth of fibre-optic services,” says the CA.

During the year to last September, the number of overall data subscriptions in Kenya grew 20.3 per cent from 25.7 million to 30.9 million.

Video-on-demand services have been growing in Kenya. Other companies that have a local presence include South Africa’s Showmax, Malysia-based iFlix, Nigeria’s iROKOtv and Amazon Prime Video.

Wananchi Group is the market leader in fixed data with a 41 per cent market share. Safaricom and Jamii Telecom follow with 15.2 per cent and 13.3 per cent market share respectively.

Safaricom has been increasing its investments in fibre, establishing a home department that is primarily tasked with connecting residential properties.

READ: Safaricom home Internet passes 90,000 houses

Last November, the company said it had passed 90,000 homes and connected 28,000 in 20 neighbourhoods.

The market has also seen increased activity from utility firm. The Kenya Electricity Transmission Company last year signed a Sh618 million with Liquid Telecom for operation of the energy firm’s latent 1,800 kilometres of fibre-optic infrastructure.

Separately, Liquid Telecom earlier this year said it had connected 3,000 homes to its Hai fibre and following recent fundraising of Sh18.7 billion the company is expected to expand and densify its network.

READ: Huawei takes aim at Kenya's home Internet market

High speed fibre Internet connections double to 54,700