The Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) on Thursday launched its fibre optic cable that will run from the Mombasa port through Nairobi to Kisumu and Eldoret in western Kenya.
The state corporation is conventionally mandated to transport petroleum products from the Mombasa port to the hinterlands in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Eastern DRC, and parts of Northern Tanzania.
But it is venturing into a new product line as it seeks to create a new revenue stream and improve the country’s internet connectivity.
The company said it acquired a tier 2 licencing from the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) in 2018, allowing it to deploy communication infrastructure with a guarantee of regional coverage, joining 22 other licensees under the tier 2 obligation.
KPC’s Managing Director, Dr Macharia Irungu, said, “We purpose to improve internal communication infrastructure for the country; diversify into the data communication sector to create a new revenue stream; and utilise technology as a business driver for both ourselves and our customers.”
“In launching our fibre optic cable, we are re-affirming our unequivocal commitment to revolutionising the delivery of data across the country,” Dr Irungu added.
Joe Mucheru, the Cabinet Secretary for ICT, Innovation, and Youth Affairs, said KPC’s entrance into the fibre optic cable business is cost-efficient and will enhance affordability of internet services in the country.
“We can’t have too much of fibre in the country, and so this working together is really good because it’s helping ensure that the country grows,” the CS said.
Ezra Chiloba, the Director General of Communications Authority of Kenya, said, “We must connect every Kenyan, because connectivity has become a basic need for our survival as a society.”
Rita Okuthe, KPC Board Chair, said their new fibre optic cable will help reduce connectivity cuts because it will be less prone to vandalism and destruction as it lies beneath their pipelines, which are always under surveillance.
KPC’s cable will be retailed to clients at $22 per kilometre per fibre core, with a one-off charge of $200 per site. Five percent of the total lease rate will be charged for maintenance.
“I commit to support this product line and welcome any other innovative initiative that will enhance our contribution to economic growth,” said Amb Monica Juma, the Cabinet Secretary for Energy and acting Petroleum and Mining CS.
The launch comes a week after state-owned telecommunication firm, Telkom Kenya, unveiled the Pakistan and East Africa Connecting Europe (Peace) sea cable in Mombasa.