KETRACO entered into a ten-year partnership with the telecommunications company for the operation and management of Optical Ground Wire fibre cable. Under the partnership, the two will upgrade the telecommunications infrastructure in the utility’s service territories with high voltage lines of 132kV and above.
The service territories will include Kenyan cities of Garissa, Isiolo, Garsen, Lamu, Rabai, Namanga, Meru, Machakos, Makueni, Wote, Sultan Hamud, Mwingi, Konza, Kitale, Eldoret, Kisii and Kisumu.
From there, the two will ensure the population in Kenya’s remote areas are provided with access to the internet, before deploying the infrastructure and network in neighbouring countries including Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Eastern Congo and Burundi.
The move is part of efforts by the energy transmission system operator to upgrade its infrastructure, adopt new business models and create new revenue streams.
The news comes after KETRACO was in 2014 granted a permit to offer telecommunications services by the Communication Authority of Kenya.
For the past three years, KETRACO has been developing a plan the utility will use to develop and manage the network. The infrastructure will open doors for the provision of services such as high-bandwidth video, audio and internet services for businesses and individual consumers.
Regional infrastructure development
To date, KETRACO operates 1,791km of transmission lines. By 2020, the company is planning to be operating 8,000km of high voltage transmission lines interconnecting Kenya with neighbouring countries. This will include 127km of 400KV connecting Kenya and Uganda, 612km of 500Kv connecting Kenya with Ethiopia and 93km of 400KV interconnecting Kenya and Tanzania.
George Kuria, Liquid Telecom’s Infrastructure Build & Deployment General Manager (East Africa), commented: “A resilient telecommunications network requires reliable connectivity, and KETRACO’s overhead fibre cable is a technology that is far superior to buried fibre or microwave connectivity.”
“This new backbone fibre cable will significantly expand our network and add resilience to our internet connectivity with a limitless capacity to carry any amounts of data bandwidth. We will invest in high-capacity equipment at the terminating points to ensure we achieve the largest data capacity possible and serve the region with the fastest and most stable internet ever achieved in East Africa.”
KETRACO will use 2% of the infrastructure to communicate grid performance data including real-time operations of transformers, meter data and commands between data centers and field crews.
Adil Youssefi, Liquid Telecom Kenya’s Chief Executive Officer, added: “Liquid Telecom Kenya is committed to partnerships across every sector to advance our mission of ensuring we meet the rising demand for high-quality internet in Kenya and the region.”
Image Credit: 123rf.