Ketraco seeks consultant to lease extra fibre optic capacity

Wednesday January 27 2016

Fibre-optic cable being laid in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO

Fibre-optic cable being laid in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By IMMACULATE KARAMBU
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Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) is seeking consultants to help it implement a broadband strategy that will involve leasing extra fibre optic capacity, in a move meant to generate additional revenue for the state company.

Ketraco expects to construct about 5,000 kilometres of high voltage lines across the country and for regional interconnection in the next four years.

All electricity transmission lines are fitted with fibre optic to aid communication between generators and control centres. However, this does not consume the entire capacity.

“The company has embarked on a broadband strategy to leverage on its current fibre infrastructure in collaboration with third parties with vast experience in telecommunication sector to design, deploy, operate, manage and sell active networks,” said Ketraco in a notice.

The move comes just a months after shareholders of Kenya Power approved formation of a company’s wholly owned subsidiary that will carry out investments on behalf of the utility, starting with venturing in internet service provision to homes.

Applied for license

Kenya Power International Limited, created out of the former Kenya Power training school will connect homes to internet riding on the company’s existing fibre optic cable lines within its network and customer base.

In April, Ketraco applied for a license from the then Communications Commission of Kenya to enable it lease its additional fibre capacity, a move that was opposed by Liquid Telecom which at the time was relying on Kenya Power’s fibre network in addition to its own.

Responding to Ketraco’s request that was also published in the Kenya Gazette seeking reactions from the public, Liquid Telecom sought to know whether Ketraco was entering the fibre optic business as a competitor to Kenya Power or as a provider of supplementary information.

In the notice published Wednesday, Ketraco said it had received a licence from Communication Authority of Kenya.

Prior to this, the company has been relying on Kenya Power to lease its extra capacity which earns as much as Sh100 million in a year.