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AccessKenya close to completing metro fibre optic network

AccessKenya has announced that it is close to completing the construction of its Sh781 million metro fibre - a network of fibre optic cables for Nairobi. Access said it was integrating two existing wireless networks to its metro fibre, resulting in a more seamless connection for existing clients.

“This will allow us to backhaul our wireless traffic across the fibre where possible and will also allow us to provide our clients with seamless connections to multiple sites across our entire infrastructure. “This new network will give us enormous capacity to provide bandwidth to clients as well as an easy upgrade path to allow,” said Jonathan Somen, the managing director.

Civil works on the company’s 150 km fibre optic network around Nairobi started in January this year with the firm expecting to complete the project by June, when the first of several international fibre optic cables lands, connecting Kenya to a global network.

The new international link is expected to lower the cost of communication by up to ten times, and Internet firms like Access Kenya have spent the last two years preparing for the cable’s arrival by rolling out their own infrastructure that will extend the international cable’s reach inland.

Access Kenya joins other infrastructure firms such as Kenya Data Networks, Telkom Kenya, Jamii telecom and Wananchi, who have all spent billions putting up fibre optic rings around urban centres such as Nairobi and Mombasa. Of this group of companies, only Wananchi and Access Kenya have yet to fully complete construction of their metro rings. In January, Jamii Telecom announced that it had completed construction of its metro fibre in Nairobi, connecting buildings within a 200km radius of the city centre.

The company, which has already signed up customers for its Nairobi project, indicated that it planned to invest in an additional fibre network in Mombasa to tap into future opportunities for growth in that area.

KDN, Telkom Kenya and the government through its National Optic Fibre Backbone Initiative (NOFBI) initiative have laid extensive networks throughout the country in readiness for the international links expected by June.

Access recently signed $1.9 million contract with Israeli infrastructure firm ECI Telecom to be Access Kenya’s fibre equipment vendor for the metro project. The first phase of the fibre network rollout will connect about 250 buildings around Nairobi on a fibre network of 150 kilometres.

On completion, the network will cover approximately 130 kilometres including 250 buildings across Nairobi including the major commercial areas of the Central Business District, Upper Hill and Westlands as well as connecting Mombasa Road to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, to Dagoretti Corner, Lavington and Gigiri.

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