Access Kenya Launches 140-Km Metro Fibre Link in Nairobi


Access Kenya has commissioned a 140-kilometre metropolitan fibre optic cable covering Nairobi's Central Business District and other high-end residential areas.

The launch of the metropolitan fibre follows the purchase of redundant capacity from Jamii Telecom, in late February.

The optic cable, laid at a cost of $5.3 million (Ksh400 million and implemented together with India's ECI Telecom, is the culmination of over a year of research and development, followed by a year of civil work, according to Access Kenya managing director Jonathan Somen.

Mr Somen said the new technology will accord the company's estimated 3,500 residential customers uninterrupted service.

"Currently, 99 per cent of our network is built as fibre rings; if we experience a cut, the other half of the ring will immediately carry the traffic," said Mr Somen.

Access Kenya has also built a core fibre network of four main nodes to manage traffic in order to minimise the chances of failure of equipment and reduce downtime to the customer.

"We are using the latest fibre optic network technology - Carrier Ethernet - which is used by large carriers in the EU and North America," said the Access Kenya boss.

He added: "Due to the network's design and coverage, new buildings can easily be connected."

The company targets about 250 buildings in the first phase of the project.

Access Kenya, the first ICT company in Kenya to be listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange in 2007, when its revenue was $8 million (Ksh 600 million).

The firm's 2009 financial results released this week indicate that its revenue stood at $26 million (Ksh2.07 billion), a 32 per cent increase on its 2008 revenues of $20.9 million (Ksh1.57 billion).

However, even though the firm's Internet division's revenue increased, it recorded a $400,000 (Ksh30 million) loss in its IT division, according to Access Kenya board chairman, David Somen.

The firm currently derives most of its revenue from the corporate market segment, which accounts for over 42 per cent of its total revenues, while the remainder is shared by the residential data market and IT divisions.

The East African