By Jimmy Kariuki
Liquid Telecom Kenya has announced a 10-year partnership with state-owned Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Limited (KETRACO) to operate KETRACO’s Optical Ground Wire (OPGW) fibre cable and expand the internet network across East Africa.
The partnership will begin by upgrading fibre connections to areas already connected to the national grid with high voltage lines of 132kV and above, expected to be given priority.
According to Adil Youssefi, Liquid Telecom Kenya’s Chief Executive Officer, Liquid Telecom Kenya sees the partnership as important to ensuring that they meet the rising demand for high-quality internet in Kenya and the region.
This coming at a time when more countries in East Africa and Africa at large are moving to leverage their power transmission infrastructure to enable them carry internet data.
“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,” said George Kuria, Liquid Telecom’s Infrastructure and Deployment General Manager (East Africa).
KETRACO is expected to continue using 2 per cent of its optical fibre for its own communication – in gathering information about its power systems, the amount of power being carried, meter readings at interchange points, the status of equipment, and alarms and voice communications between KETRACO’s power dispatchers and line maintenance crews.
At the same time, Liquid Telecom Kenya will install connectivity equipment in all the power terminating points along KETRACO’s network, complementing the Internet Service Provider’s own underground cable network running from Mombasa to Nairobi and across most major towns in Kenya.
“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,” said Fernandes Barasa, KETRACO’s Managing Director.
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 like Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Eastern Congo and Burundi.