Kenya’s government has announced plans to lay a fifth fibre-optic cable in the region, which is expected to practically double the country’s bandwidth capacity from the current 8.6Tb per second to more than than 15Tb per second.
According to the country’s Ministry of Information and Communications’ permanent secretary Dr Bitange Ndemo, improved uptake of the current cable capacity will only be possible once the country adopts 4G. Although he did not specify the timeline, Ndemo said that a firm in the Middle East is in negotiations with the government on the procurement process.
While the four existing undersea cables, namely SEACOM, EASSy, LION-2, and TEAMS, account for nearly 2.8Tbps of the country’s bandwidth, Kenya only uses some 6 percent of available bandwidth presently. The cables, which also serve neighbouring countries, supply over 4.7Tbps of international connectivity.
Before this, Kenya depended largely on satellites to access the internet, and the cost of connectivity proved to be a major obstacle to growth in online access.
Statistics from the industry regulator Communications Commission of Kenya show that close to 17.3-million people in the country had access to the internet as of December 2011, indicating a 44.12% penetration rate.
Kenya’s government has recently been engaged in plans to boost the economy by leveraging ICTs. According to Ndemo, the state is in talks to establish two tier 4 data centres at Konza City, Kenya’s much anticipated technopolis. Currently, the country is served by two data centres, the National Data Centre and the Kenya Data Networks Data Centre.
Meanwhile, Kenya’s government has revealed plans to launch its National ICT Master plan, detailing how the country can be positioned as a leader in ICT investment and innovation by the year 2017. The plan, which is expected to solidify Kenya’s footing in the region as an ICT hub, is scheduled to launch on November 29.
It is projected that the ICT industry will contribute approximately US$2-billion (25 percent of the GDP) and create 500 ICT companies and 50 000 jobs by 2017.