The number of Internet users is increasingly growing in Kenya, and with this growth, there is an increasing demand for high-speed reliable Internet connection. Although there are some optic fibre infrastructure installations in Kenya for Internet connection. These infrastructures cover small areas and mostly within the affluent parts of major urban aread in Kenya.
Leaving out the majority of users, locked out of the fast fibre Internet connection. The privileged few with access to fibre connection, have to make do with exorbitant fees charged by their Internet Service Providers, give the industry has suppliers thus competition does not come into play to influence drops in prices.
This sorry state of affairs might soon change if Kenya’s national electricity distributor, Kenya Power, makes good of its words. The national power distributor can be said to have the most extensive national grid connection across the country, and would, therefore, be better placed to supply fibre connections to households across the country.
Kenya Power does have its installation of fibre optic cables that run along these power lines in some parts of the country. However, the company does not provide Internet access to the many homes and offices it is supplying power in those areas. Instead, the company leases out its extra infrastructure to telecoms and other Internet Service Providers; like Safaricom, Airtel, Wananchi Group’s Zuku, Liquid Telecom, and Jamii Telecommunications.
In 2015, Kenya Power formed a new subsidiary company dubbed Kenya Power International Ltd. The company intends to use the new subsidiary in distributing fibre Internet connections to homes and offices. Something the company should accomplish with comparative ease compared to the current Internet Service Providers, given Kenya Power, already has over 1,800 Kms of optical fibre running along its high voltage power lines across 24 counties in Kenya. The company is also working on further extending the fibre network to all the regions in Kenya.
As Ben Chumo, the Managing Director at Kenya Power puts it, “The new outfit will be responsible for development of fibre-to-the-home which is a major business direction. We already have the necessary infrastructure and, therefore, giving this extra service to our customers will not require any major investment. We shall not put our lines underground where it is unsafe but along our power lines.”
If or when Kenya Power does decide to venture into the Internet Service Providers business, all the current providers enjoying its infrastructures will become competitors. They will also be forced to look for alternative fibre infrastructure to connect their users.