Government Partners with Safaricom to Expand Fibre Connectivity in Kenya

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A few months ago, the Kenya Kwanza administration made a commitment to lay more than 100,000 kilometres of fibre optic cable throughout the country within its first term, as part of its Digital Superhighway initiative.

At present, over 25,000 kilometres of fibre optic cable have been laid.

Safaricom is said to be working with the government on this initiative, but other companies such as Telkom Kenya have also made significant contributions to expanding fibre optic coverage in Kenya.

“We are committed to supporting the government in the roll-out of the 100,000kms of fibre, already we have 13,000kms of fibre,” said George Njuguna, Director of ICT, Safaricom.

This announcement was made at the Connected Kenya Summit 2023, which is taking place in Kwale County.

Digital Master Plan

During last year’s Connected Kenya, the previous government announced the Digital Master Plan for the country, which should run all the way to 2032.

It seeks to make Kenya one of the leading ICT-driven countries and enhance the collaboration of the public and private sectors to form the development network of information systems and infrastructure.

Infrastructure

Kenya has made notable progress in terms of digital connectivity and is one of the most connected nations in the region, with six submarine cables serving the country: TEAMS, EASSY, SEACOM, DARE, PEACE, and LION2.

The government owns 20 per cent of TEAMS.

Although the government has activated a 10 Gbps connection using its capacity in TEAMS, there are concerns about the lack of experts to support ICT infrastructure and the absence of an ICT infrastructure development plan.

Nonetheless, over the last decade, the state has built more than 9,000 kilometres of terrestrial fibre optic cable, reaching all counties in Kenya through the National Optic Fiber Backbone Infrastructure Project (NOFBI).

Phase 1 was implemented in 2008, Phase 2 in 2014, and 3 in 2017. The government’s last-mile connectivity has also developed 534 km of infrastructure, linking 1,650 public institutions and offices to offer services such as the Government Common Core Network (GCCN).

As said, the plan is to lay 100,000 km of fibre before the first term of the administration ends.

By 2030, the growth of connectivity will be significant, and there will be a substantial increase in bandwidth requirements due to big data consolidation and analytics.

A report from the Fibre Broadband Association predicts that a four-person household will require 2,141 Mbps speeds in the next decade, and a single household could need 2 Gbps of broadband speed.

The master plan was therefore developed to ensure that the structural designs incorporate ICT infrastructure requirements for any building erected or land development to comply with the ICT building code.

The state has also built a Tier 2 Government Data Centre to secure government data and apps and create a hosting environment for critical information.

As usual, we will keep you updated about key announcements that are being made at the summit.