In an attempt to cut losses, Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) has revealed its plan to connect millions of customers in rural homes with high-speed internet.
Kenya Power to unveil internet packages after successful pilot testing
What many don't know is that leading telcos paid Sh800 million to use Kenya Power infrastructure for high speed internet services.
Previously, Kenya Power has been leasing fibre-optic cables attached to its transmission lines to Internet service providers.
Due to an increase in demand for internet, the electricity distributor is confident of rivalling all other internet providers.
Kenya Power believes it can gain market share by offering low-cost packages, indicating a pricing war in a telecoms sector where data is the new frontier for development.
After conducting pilot testing with a section of power users, the company will launch a package that will allow its corporate clients to buy internet and electricity as a package in the coming weeks.
“In the medium to long-term, the company is exploring the lit fibre business to increase the penetration of internet connectivity, particularly in the rural areas,” said Kenya Power in its latest annual report.
Kenya Power is at an advantage as compared to already existing Internet Service Providers (ISPs) due to its penetration across the country which saw them connect to millions of potential customers in rural areas.
In an attempt to reduce the cost of expensive infrastructure support involving the digging of trenches to lay terrestrial cables, ISPs decided to collaborate with KPLC where the former benefits from the latter's national grid by connecting cables in already existing poles.
“The company’s extensive fibre network presently offers dark fibre services to the country’s major ISPs to facilitate the provision of Internet services to the end buyer in the retail and enterprise segments across the country and neighbouring countries,” said the utility company.
High-speed Internet was expected to spur e-commerce among rural folk who have been left out of the digital revolution because of poor infrastructure and the high cost of satellite-based platforms.
Kenya Power and Safaricom struck a 20-year leasing deal for Sh421 million in 2010 for the usage of two fibre connections.
The company also signed five-year leases for a total of Sh403 million with telecoms companies Wananchi Group and Jamii Telecoms.
Kenya Power initially envisioned the fibre optic connections as a tool to improve grid monitoring.
However, internet service providers took solace from its fibre optic network since vandals may not be able to access it because it is mounted on top of active power lines.
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