Internet service provider Liquid Telecom is set to extend its fibre optic cables to seven neighbouring countries in a move that is likely to reduce the regional cost of data following a Sh618 million deal signed with the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco).
Ketraco entered into a 10-year contract with Liquid Telecom that will see the firm sell internet in Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Eastern Congo and Burundi.
The deal will also see fibre connections in areas already connected to the national grid with high voltage lines of 132 kilovolts and above upgraded.
Liquid Telecom intends to leverage on Ketraco’s national long carrier of fibre to meet the rising demand for high-bandwidth, video and internet services for businesses and individual consumers across the country and East African region.
The service provider will for now upgrade, operate, manage and commercialise Ketraco’s 1,800 kilometres fibre optic cables on existing power lines in a deal where the two will share revenues in a 40:60 ratio respectively.
“With this partnership, it is now easier to improve the business through expanded inter-regional connectivity with strong internet bandwidth which is an enabler of a strong economy” said Fernandes Barasa, Ketraco’s Managing Director.
Mr Adil Youssefi, chief executive officer Liquid Telecom said that the new backbone fibre cable will expand their network and add resilience to their internet connectivity with a limitless capacity to carry any amounts of data bandwidth.
“We will now be able, with this partnership, to meet the rising demand for high-quality internet in Kenya and the region,” said Youssefi.
By 2020, they intend to have constructed approximately 8,000km of transmission lines comprising of at least 2,650km of 132 kilovolt lines, 2,700km of 220 kilovolts lines, 2,000km of 400 kilovolt lines and 612km of 500 kilovolts of overhead transmission lines.
The high-voltage transmission lines are expected to increase by 40.37 per cent to 11,230 kilometres by 2030.
Once the local areas are connected, Liquid Telecom will then extend fibre connections to neighbouring countries like Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Eastern Congo and Burundi.
Some of the connections to neighbouring countries include the 127 kilometre 400 kilovolt Kenya – Uganda, the 612 kilometre 500 kilovolt Ethiopia – Kenya and the 93 kilometre 400 kilovolt Kenya – Tanzania interconnectors.