Fibre Cable Expansion Plans Along Thika Road And Its Environs
"Once we are done the internet will be affordable for everyone” Former PS, Dr. Bitange Ndemo, Ministry of ICT
Five years ago in Kenya, the first undersea cable went live. It sought to provide high-speed Internet access in the country. Fast forward and five years later, there have been notable improvements in terms of Internet access and broadband connectivity.
Construction works are continuing and the most recent developments are along Thika road and its surroundings. Areas such as Muthaiga, Kasarani, Garden estate and its environs are some of the areas that the fibre cable is being rolled out. The firm behind it is Jamii Telecommunications Limited (JTL), popularly known by the television advert ‘Faiba.’ This is as a result of the increased demand and usage in the country.
Jamii’s network infrastructure spans over 4,000 kilometres and is a major shareholder in TEAMS with back up on SEACOM. The firm had entered into an agreement with Chinese telecom giant ZTE to connect up to 100,000 homes to its fibre optic cable. The network infrastructure can be broken down into four major portions.
1. Undersea cable
- It has an advantage that it maintains redundancy, which eliminates down times.
2. Mombasa to Malaba trunk – which runs on leased Kenya Power and Lighting pylons.
- An advantage is that overhead cables are less prone to fibre cuts and the benefit is that this enhances uptime.
3. Metro Fiber (probably the widest coverage of all fibre operators) – JTL owns networks in;
4. GPON (Faiba) – owns networks in Mombasa and Nairobi that deliver fibre to the home.
This technology, popularly known as FAIBA, does not rely on community power. The benefit is that if there is a massive power outage in an area, with backup power at home, Internet will continue to work. This technology also offers triple-pay services to residential customers
According to a contact at the firm, “With faiba Internet the whole house can go online at the same time with no drop in speed, access Video Conferencing services with H.D. clarity, access online TV and film streams without interruptions, download music in a flash,
access distance learning and many others; the possibilities are endless...” The ongoing works are expected to be complete by late August.
The future looks bright with the expectations of next generation mobile networks using high-speed Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology and 4G. Who knows what the broadband future holds for us Kenyans? Recently we saw an initiative in providing Internet access in public transportation.
However, it’s still a work in progress and the government must step in to provide the platform which could lead to service providers sharing infrastructure instead of building their own which will make Internet affordable to everyone and spread to the less affluent areas as access to information is vital and everyone has a right to it. Mawingu was such an initiative.