Uganda is set to benefit from a new partnership between Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) and Liquid Telecom.
The partnership, which is expected to extend affordable internet will see other countries like Somalia and Ethiopia be part of the project.
According to a statement from Liquid Telecom, the IT firm will lease Ketraco's electricity transmission lines to carry internet traffic from the undersea cables that terminate at the port of Mombasa to the rest of East Africa.
The partnership aims to provide connectivity to Somalia and Ethiopia by early 2019.
"Our part is to bring equipment to commercialize the services. We want to connect the existing 2000 kilometers of Ketraco fibre to our over 1,000 plus fibre network to deliver reliable internet," said, Adil Youssefi, Liquid Telecom Kenya CEO.
According to Ketraco's Chairman Mr James Rege, KETRACO currently runs an electricity transmission grid of 2,315 kilometres and is poised to cover 8,000 kilometres of high voltage transmission lines with concurrent fibre connectivity.
"To maximise on the efficiency of this infrastructure, there could have been no better firm for the Company to partner with than Liquid Telecom. Liquid Telecom will manage the fibre optic component of our transmission network for the next 15 years." He said.
Liquid Telecom plans to invest at least USD 7 million to commercialise the electricity transmission lines. Under the fifteen-year agreement, Ketraco will retain 60 percent of the revenues collected, with Liquid Telecom retaining 40 percent. Youssefi said that in phase one, they will energise 1,500 km of Ketraco electricity lines.
The first and most urgent of all is internet connectivity for the rural Kenyans. This will go a long way in ensuring the fruits of the President's Big Four agenda are enjoyed by all Kenyans including the rural folks. We require reliable ICT solutions to promote attainment of food security, affordable housing, and manufacturing and universal health care.
KETRACO and Liquid telecom's partnership will create access to villages and individuals to faster, cheaper broadband to make them succeed in the digital economy. Local businesses that are already witnessing some growth will be able to participate in the global economy. A small businessman will compete with and outdo the multinationals. The local fish dealer will be able to export her fish to London and easily monitor the location of her goods and the proceeds will be great. With reliable internet, anything is possible.
The partnership will also help students access the online courses that can aid in pursuing their dreams. The youth in need of employment opportunities will be easily linked to jobs from all corners of our country to the cities and towns of other nations. Better connectivity will facilitate growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and strengthen security surveillance within our borders and beyond.
The internet has created new jobs, today through your laptop and phones, accessing banking services is now a reality yet the best is still to come Kenyan people.
"I've seen first-hand where doctors have created applications to better serve Kenyans by linking any Kenyan to the best doctors and medical services. That during an emergency, say of a two-year old kid that just got chocked, you can get direct access to a doctor without unnecessary bureaucracies. Farmers too have not been left behind. Our farmers are amazing individuals. What they did is that they realized they had low proceeds due to lack of knowledge and inaccessible markets. And so to penetrate, they came together and created platforms that would link them to international markets said," James Rege, Chairman KETRACO"