Telkom Kenya has unveiled its fibre optic cable and launched a broadband wireless service, all valued at Sh754 million.

Telkom Managing Director, Sammy Kirui, said the 500 Km terrestrial cable running from Mombasa to Nairobi cost the company Sh667 million. The firm invested Sh86.4 million in the Kenstream broadband wireless service.

During the launch of the two services at Teleposta grounds in Nairobi, Information and Communications minister Mutahi Kagwe's speech was relayed live over the cable to Mombasa.

Kirui said the cable had a capacity of 2.5 gigabytes per second. "A fibre optic pair can transmit 30,200 telephone calls simultaneously. The capacity is adequate for this market," said Kirui. For the last 20 years, Telkom has been using microwave links between the two cities. Telkom chief operations officer, Dan Kibera, said there will be landing points at Athi River, Makindu, Mazeras, Mtito Andei and Voi.

Kirui said the cable will reach Malaba in December to connect Uganda, to fast track the Eastern Africa digitisation programme.

The Kenstream broadband is Telkom Kenya's digital leased line service, provided on a wireless platform. Kirui said Kenstream would increase its reach from a radius of 5 Km to 10 Km from each base station. Telkom has eight Kenstream base stations around Nairobi and Mombasa.

He said the launch of the two services "was part of a big picture" aimed at making Telkom competitive, ahead of the second national operator expected next year. Telkom Kenya has also outsourced its last mile wireless services and is in the process of doing the same to the fixed line services.

The East African Standard