Commercial buildings in Nairobi can now be connected to Safaricom’s fibre optic grid for free. Already buildings in Westlands are enjoying the free service. The telecommunications company has been laying its fibre cable worth Kshs 8 billion and is planning a national rollout of the service.
Telecom firms charge between KShs 100,000 – KShs 200,000 to connect buildings to their fibre optic cables, in return the office block is supplied with an internet link with minimum average speed of 4Mbps.
The new service is set to attract customers to Safaricom’s fold as the telco aims to reduce its reliance on voice business which still accounts for a large part of its sales. The company’s latest annual report shows M-Pesa, Internet and SMS services registering significant sales growth. These sectors are set to beat revenues collected from voice services for the past three years.
Connecting commercial buildings to fibre will give Safaricom a competitive edge in the fixed Internet segment. Until recently, the telco has been leasing its fibre link from KDN, AccessKenya and Wananchi. But now Safaricom has its own fibre network over which it can dictate the issues of pricing and quality of service its customers will enjoy.
“The enterprise segment is still nascent in Kenya and the data demands of businesses today require high capacity bandwidth to deliver that content back to the core. However, factors relating to quality and reliability have made it necessary for us to lay our own infrastructure,” Safaricom’s Nzioka Waita said.