Kenya Power plans to lay an additional 600.5 kilometres of fibre optic cable network to lease to telcos as the demand for internet rises amid COVID-19.
The country’s sole power supplier currently owns more than 4000km of the cable on its high voltage power lines. The utility firm is now looking for a contractor for the extension programme that will take 36 months.
“KPLC fibre optic cable network is growing at a very fast rate to meet internal primary telecommunication needs as well as to serve external customers who lease fibre capacity,” says the company.
“KPLC intends to extend its fibre optic cable network to its commercial centres and substations using all-dielectric self-supporting fibre optic cable for improved data connectivity and a small portion with optical ground wire.”
The planned extension comes in the wake of a surge in demand for internet services as companies continue to direct employees to work from home. So, it is inevitable that people across the country spend most of their time indoors to lower the risks of contracting and spreading the virus.
The cables will be installed below the high and medium voltage power lines. Kenya Power uses the cables to manage the national grid and leases the excess capacity to telecoms service providers such as Safaricom, Airtel, Liquid Telecom and Jamii Telecommunications.
Tender documents show that the fibre extension works have been divided into two lots.
The first lot targets 277.5 kilometres and will cover Coast, Nairobi, northeastern and Mount Kenya regions while the second one will add 323 kilometres in Central Rift, North Rift, western and South Nyanza regions.