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Kenya accelerates fibre rollout target

By , Kenya Correspondent
19 Apr 2024
ICT cabinet secretary Eliud Owalo.
ICT cabinet secretary Eliud Owalo.

Kenya believes that an ambitious goal of deploying 100,000 kilometres of optical fibre to underserved areas in five years can now be accomplished within the next two.

This comes after the government revised the traditional practice of laying cables on the ground in favour of using existing infrastructure from the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) to connect citizens to the internet.

Fibre cables would therefore run alongside electrical lines.

"We have now changed the model," Eliud Owalo, cabinet secretary for information, communications, and the digital economy, stated.

Owalo spoke during the two-day Digital Transformation in East Africa conference, which ended today at the Aga Khan University in Nairobi.

He explained: “As opposed to digging down the ground to lay fibre, we have engineered our model through a partnership between our ministry and the KPLC, where we are now going to leverage on the infrastructure of the KPLC to roll out the fibre.”

“If we go that route, which is now work in progress, it is our estimation that as opposed to the five years within which we are envisaged to roll out 100 000km, we will now be able to roll out the 100 000km of fibre within the next two years.

“If there is last mile connectivity of electricity therefore, we equally will be able to have last mile connectivity of fibre in Kenya up to the individual household,” he said of areas that rely on last mile-coverage in terms of power connectivity.”

Further, he said that since the resumption of the fibre rollout last year, Nia Fibre, which was hired by the government, had laid 10,000 kilometres.

Owalo also disclosed that the government had begun the process of installing 25,000 WiFi hotspots across the country.

He stated that the government's initial target stages are markets and bus terminals.

"The markets are where our moms and sisters who engage in trading reside. We want to use technology to transform our markets into digital marketplaces.”

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