Kai Wulff, Kenya Data Networks (KDN) managing director, said the first phase of the backbone would cost $30 million (about Sh2 billion).

In a statement, Wulff said work on the Nairobi-Mombasa stretch was nearly complete and commercial services would begin next month. Mombasa residents have lately witnessed heavy digging of trenches and laying of cables.

Several business premises, including banks had equally to contend with the awesome exercise as the workmen continued to dig and then re-fill the trenches after laying cables. Mombasa Town Clerk Shedd Simotwo confirmed that a telecommunications company was laying underground cables. "The trenches are as a result of laying of cables by a telecommunications company," Simotwo explained.

Wulff said the project would result in better and cheaper telecommunications services in Kenya. The official said the total rollout plan for Kenya would cost a whopping US$ 330 million or Sh24 billion.

"We are building the first national fiber backbone for Kenya between Mombasa and Busia. Later, we will extend to Mount Kenya region, Lunga Lunga, Namanga and Malindi," Wulff said. He said the firm would extend its network to Uganda by November this year while its total rollout in the region would be completed by the end of 2008.

The East African Standard