AccessKenya plans fibre optic project


In a bid to increase its operational capacity ahead of the arrival of international fibre optic links, AccessKenya has started development of a metro fibre network that will create enhanced connectivity for its clients.

Sources within the company said the Internet solutions provider is shopping for partners to help it implement the Sh781 million project, slated for completion by year’s end.

“This will give us much more capacity on our local loop —in other words on our infrastructure from us to our clients. This sets us up for the future to ensure that we can deliver significantly more bandwidth overall as well as significantly more bandwidth to individual clients,” said Jonathan Somen, managing director of AccessKenya Group.

AccessKenya said it had short-listed three suppliers for the equipment supply, with bids already in from Dimension Data and Cisco who have placed a joint bid, Alcatel-Lucent and ECI topping the list.

The total cost of the 150 kilometre project is estimated to be approximately Sh624 million ($8 million) to Sh781 million ($10 million). This cost represents the first phase of a multi-faceted infrastructure development by the company that will increase its capacity in key regions around the country.

The development comes against the backdrop of the arrival later this year of up to three international fibre optic links, which are set to decrease the cost of communicating via Internet and phone by up to five times.

AccessKenya’s latest move highlights an on-going trend in the industry which has seen larger players invest heavily in proprietary infrastructure.

Internet solution providers such as Kenya Data Networks, Swift Global, Jamii Telecom and UUNET among others are anticipating a corresponding rise in demand for their services once the cables arrive, and several firms are upgrading their existing infrastructure in order to be in a pole position once the international links arrive.

Jamii Telecom initiated a similar Sh300 million fibre optic project in Nairobi two years ago, while more established players such as Telkom Kenya and Kenya Data Networks have quietly being strengthening their metro fibre offerings.

These privately operated cables will supplement the government-driven Sh3 billion National Fibre Optic Backbone Infrastructure (NOFBI) project that will see over 5,000km of fibre optic cable laid down all over the country.

Business Daily