NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
State-owned Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) and
Liquid Telecom on Thursday signed an agreement to extend
affordable internet connectivity services to Somalia, Ethiopia
Adil Youssefi, CEO
of Liquid Telecom, told a media briefing in Nairobi that under
the deal, his organization 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 the
East Africa region.
“We envisage that
through providing internet through overhead fiber optic lines,
we will be able to lower cost of internet by reducing use of
expensive wireless technology,” Youssefi said.
Youssefi noted that
they hope to provide internet connectivity to Somalia and
Ethiopia by early 2019. Liquid telecom plans to invest at least
7 million U.S. dollars to commercialize the electricity
Under the agreement
that spans 15 years, Ketraco will retain 60 percent of the
revenues collected, with Liquid Telecom retaining 40 percent.
Youssefi said that
in phase one, they will energize 1,500 km of Ketraco electricity
He observed that
once the agreement is operationalized, it will improve the
reliability of internet connectivity in the East African region.
“It will provide
another level of redundancy on communication cables so that when
one line is down, connectivity will be routed to the overhead
lines,” he added.
managing director of Ketraco, said that his organization plans
to diversify its revenue streams through leveraging its power
transmission infrastructure to carry internet data.
According to Barasa,
Ketraco hopes to earn 3 million dollars annually from leasing
its fiber optic lines, adding that all Ketraco transmission line
built have a fiber optic cable, usually 48 cores, which is
strung alongside the power cables on high voltage transmission
“This includes the
interconnecting transmission lines with neighboring Uganda,
Ethiopia and Tanzania,” Barasa said.
He added that fiber
is a necessary component of all transmission lines because of
use of Optical Ground Wire (OPGW) technology which combines the
functions of grounding for safety and for internet
He noted that
Ketraco is a licensed second-tier network facilities provider
that allows the firm to lease out dark and lit fiber.
market research, we have opted to target the optic fiber cable
market, leasing out our excess fiber on a wholesale basis, in
order to meet the ever increasing bandwidth demand of voice,
data and video for the country,” he added.
He revealed that the
partnership between Ketraco and Liquid Telcom will see
telecommunications firms provide a more resilient network in
many parts of the country already connected to the national
He added that the
partnership will further extend fiber connections to remote
areas of Kenya and neighboring countries including Ethiopia,
South Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, etc.
Ketraco said that it
currently runs a 2,315 km electricity transmission network
within Kenya and by 2020, the company will have completed
construction of over 8,000 km of high voltage transmission lines
with concurrent fiber connectivity.
“This will guarantee
reliable connectivity due to the overhead fiber cable that is
superior to buried fiber and that is not susceptible to
vandalism,” he added.