Capital FM (Nairobi)

19 November 2012

Kenya: Plans to Land 5th Undersea Cable

Photo: Capital FM
Workers pulling the TEAMS fibre cable.

Nairobi — Plans to land a fifth undersea fibre optic cable in Kenya are underway, a move that would see the country more than quadruple its current bandwidth capacity.

Information Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo said increased uptake of the existing cable capacity will only multiply once the country goes into 4G in the near future.

Although the PS did not give specific timelines, he revealed that a firm from the Middle East is in talks with the government to begin the procurement process.

"We would have 15 terabytes once the fifth cable lands," Ndemo said on the sidelines of a national ICT conference in Nairobi.

At the moment Kenya has four undersea cables including EASSy, TEAMS, SEACOM, and LION-2, which hold more than 2.8 terabytes of bandwidth.

The cables also service all of Kenya's neighbouring countries and provide over 5,261,919 Mbps international connectivity.

Initially, Kenya relied on satellite access; however bandwidth and issues surrounding the cost of Internet served as obstacles to growth in web access.

According to the latest sector statistics by the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) 17.38 million people in the country had access to the Internet as of December last year, marking a penetration rate of 44.12 percent.

Ndemo said the government plans to construct two Tier 4 data centres at the proposed technopolis, Konza City.

So far Kenya has two data centres including the National Data Center and the Kenya Data Networks Data Center. To solidify the country's foothold in the region as an ICT hub, the government is expected to roll out the National ICT Master Plan this month.

The plan seeks to set up Kenya as a leader in ICT investment and innovation by the year 2017.

It is projected that by 2017, the ICT Industry would contribute an estimated $2 billion (25 percent of GDP), create 500 ICT companies, and bring in 50,000 jobs.

Priority areas in the plan include health and education followed by agriculture and retail/wholesale trade.

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InFocus

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Workers pulling the TEAMS fibre cable.

Internet service is expected to be interrupted when the East African fibre optic cable, TEAMS, undergoes maintenance for two weeks. Read more »