In what is bound to be good news for those of us who live in the diaspora where the is no fibre connection. The partnership announced yesterday between Kenya Power and Safaricom sets the stage for the two firms to implement a pilot fibre optic project aimed at providing internet to homes through Kenya Power’s distribution network. Under the deal, Safaricom will lease additional broadband infrastructure built and owned by Kenya Power to roll out a last mile network with the aim of connecting more homes to its broadband internet services. Kenya Power already owns and operates more than 4,000 km in length of fibre optic cable whereas Safaricom has to date rolled out 3,200km of fibre reaching about 7,000 homes.
This deal will enable Safaricom will have a competitive advantage over other players in the fibre to the home market segment in that they will be able to ride on Kenya Powers existing infrastructure. Also in the places that do not have fibre they can use the Kenya Power electricity poles to carry their fibre optic cables rather than digging trenches. Laying the cable underground has proven to be an expensive venture in terms of manpower required and the number of licenses that have to be acquired from various authorities, not to mention the inconvenience to members of the public. This cost element has so far been the greatest hindrance to the expansion of the fibre optic cables by the various players. With this deal Safaricom will have greatly reduced its costs which will enable them accelerate expansion.
As such you can expect to see them in your neighborhood very soon. As a matter of fact the project intends to target more than 12,000 homes in a 12 month pilot to be carried out in residential areas in and around Nairobi. The fibre to home providers who have a habit of disappointing customers need to be up their game as the cost of switching providers is about to come down significantly.