While Nigeria still battles with electricity provision, even recording zero megawatts on the national grid, Kenya is on its way to providing internet connectivity for its citizens. Kenya Power International and Safaricom have collaborated to make this happen and both establishments have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to that effect.
12,000 homes in Nairobi Kenya will benefit from this project as the companies will provide them with internet connection through a fibre optic network. This partnership will further strengthen Safaricom’s capacity to provide faster, affordable and reliable broadband services.
While the state-owned utility firm, Kenya Power, is to provide about 4,000km length of fibre optic cables, Safaricom will invest in the fibre business and recover its investment through a lease agreement, according to Business Daily Africa, as the company is experienced in laying fibre and has 3,200km of fibre reaching 7,000 homes.
“The agreement will promote development and improvement of additional telecommunications infrastructure for effective and efficient provision of telecommunications services to both public and private institutions through provision of adequate, reliable and competitively-priced fibre networks,” Kenya Power CEO, Ben Chumo, said while speaking about the project. Safaricom CEO, Bob Collymore, said that the project will accelerate the rate of connection to homes, and reduce inconvenience caused by digging trenches to lay the underground fibre optic cable grid.
The good thing about this project is that people get to benefit from better broadband services without having to leave the comfort of their homes. It seems both Safaricom and Kenya Power are taking the right step to invest in broadband penetration. In 2015, the United Nations praised Kenya for its effective plan towards broadband provision. According to the Daily Nation, UN Global Commission’s report, ‘The State Of Broadband 2015,’ states that Kenya has consistently signalled national commitment to the broadband plan across policy makers and stakeholders. It also identified that factors like capacity, subscription rates and coverage need to be considered as well.
However, Safaricom and Kenya Power are not the first to invest in people when it comes to broadband penetration. In 2014, Kenyan based start-up, BRCK raised $1.2 million to connect people to the internet using its device called The BRCK. The device allows users to leverage the nearly ubiquitous mobile broadband and turn it into a connection designed for productivity, rather than solely consumption. The BRCK was designed to provide redundancy where there is poor power and internet infrastructure, automatically switching to inbuilt batteries and 3G connectivity when the primary sources fail.