In 2014, Liquid Telecom announced plans to connect the 47 counties in Kenya with fiber optic at a cost of Kshs. 4.4 Billion. As of March, the firm had connected 40 of the 47 counties with the completion of a fiber network in Homa Bay County at a cost of Kshs. 123 Million. The connection included a 15 Km point-to-point network connecting the Homa Bay County government and corporate organizations.
The firm has now announced an ambitious project seeking to connect the Kisumu City with a metro network, with plans of converting the lakeside city into Kenya’s first smart city. Smart Cities integrate multiple ICT systems to manage a city’s assets, including county government information systems, schools, libraries, transport systems, hospitals, power plants, water supply networks and waste management. Successful initiatives include IBM helping New York City prevent fires as well as identify questionable tax refund claims, with the initiative helping the City save over $100m over five years.
The project is an initiative of Liquid Telecom, the Kisumu County government with the Rockefeller foundation also sponsoring the initiative. The Kshs. 54 Million metro project will see the installation of a 12.4km metro network that will cover Kisumu Central Business District, Milimani, Kondele up to Kibos, Kicomi and Migosi Junction. In 2006, the United Nations declared Kisumu the first UN Millennium City in the world, partly because a number of ambitious development strategies placed to convert the city into a regional hub. The Rockefeller foundation through the Transforming Kisumu: Enabling Technologies for Smart Cities and Resilient Economies initiative wants to make technology a core part of Kisumu’s transformation.