Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC), the country’s sole distributor of electricity, will soon be rolling out its fiber to home connections by the end of this year.
In April this year, KPLC signed a memorandum of understanding with Safaricom where they targeted a total of 12,000 homes within Nairobi county in their pilot phase before fully spreading out the service to the other parts of the country.
“The internet connections to homes will offer an alternative revenue stream as we cut our reliance on electricity sales,” said Ben Chumo, the Managing Director of KPLC.
Chumo noted that the roll-out process has had number of delays but operations will kick off in December this year. He added that they already have close to 5 million homes which have been connected to the grid and that they want to take advantage of the grid to deliver the fibre to homes.
“This service is ultimately going to be cheaper as compared to other service providers in the market since we are not going to dig trenches to lay the fiber optic cable,” said the MD.
This is because the firm already has the necessary infrastructure in place, therefore they will not have to put their lines underground where it is unsafe but along their already existing power lines. Venturing into the fibre business without having to invest in infrastructure presents a great advantage to Kenya Power, reducing the overhead that would otherwise have been transferred to the end-user. This is likely to cut down further the cost of broadband internet in Kenya, making the ISP market even more competitive.
Kenya power formed an Internet service provider subsidiary dubbed Kenya Power International to handle its Internet business and it will provide its vast infrastructure covering 4,000 kilometers in length of fibre-optic cable that will ride on its power lines.
Chumo disclosed that the service will be available to all users regardless as Kenya Power wants to become the most neutral provider of fibre along its network.
Kenya Power was issued with a Network Facility Provider – Tier 2 License by the country’s Communications Authority in January this year. The license designated the firm as a Public Data Network Operator, thus allowing it to provide internet access to individuals and other operators.