Kenya Data Networks signs Cable Leasing Deal with KPLC


Kenya Data Networks last Thursday joined the list of firms leasing the Kenya Power and Lighting Company fibre optic cable capacity. The five year lease is worth Sh135 million. It joins Safaricom, Jamii Telecom and Wananchi Group that have already signed deals for the network on the Nairobi-Mombasa power transmission line.

The partnership will enable Kenya Data Networks have an alternative route for data traffic from the existing underground fibre cables. The move is aimed at ensuring that communication goes one even when vandals strike.

"This will provide better uptime on the internet and corporate wide area networks for not just Kenya, but also for the neighbouring countries," said Kai Wulff, the firm's chief executive officer.

Early this year Safaricom took a pair of the fibres in a 20 year lease for Sh288 million while Wananchi Group and Jamii Telecommunications Ltd, in a five year renewable lease of one pair of fibres each, will pay Sh27 million annually. The fibre optic cable installation is part of a component of a larger Sh1.9 billion System Control and Data Acquisition system modernisation.

Installation of the connection on the 500 kilometre Nairobi-Mombasa route was completed last year, while that of the cable on the western route and on other transmission lines is expected to be done and available for use by July this year.

The cable network covers routes from Kipevu in Mombasa to Nairobi; Nairobi to parts of the Mount Kenya region; Nairobi to Eldoret and Eldoret through to Muhoroni, Kisii and ultimately to Tororo in Uganda.

"We see numerous potential to diversify our revenue base and enhance our bottom-line, as well as increase shareholder value by maximising utilisation of this major and secure national resource," said Joseph Njoroge, KPLC's managing director.

The power distributor was granted a Network Facility Provider - Tier 2 Licence by the regulator CCK last year. It gives it the authority to construct, install and operate electronic systems, which may be leased to licensed telecommunications operators.
Out of the 24 pairs of fibres in the cable, the power firm will only utilise six.

Over the past several months, KPLC has raked in more than half-a-billion shillings through leasing of its extra dark fibres, as telecom firms rush to beat a growing threat from cable vandals.