Kenya Data Networks (KDN), an Altech subsidiary and the fastest growing ICT company in East Africa, has laid an estimated 1 500km of fibre backbone from the Kenyan city of Mombasa to Kampala in Uganda.
The fibre optic network will afford homes, businesses and digital villages the opportunity to tap into the anticipated benefits of faster, cheaper and more efficient services, including cable television, voice and data services.
Further plans include laying an additional 400km of underground cable from Kampala to Kigali, Rwanda, totaling 6 000km of cable for the project.
“Altech is proud to be associated with this project," says Altech CEO Craig Venter. "East Africa is a region with explosive growth prospects as far as technology and broadband provision are concerned.
"The imminent landing of a number of undersea cables will provide the bandwidth needed to create an East African broadband network. Broadband demand in East Africa is expected to increase ten fold over the next three years. The project will unlock land-locked countries, like Uganda and Rwanda, by connecting them to the undersea cables via KDN’s terrestrial fibre."
KDN owns the largest fibre optic network in East Africa and dominates the field of data carriers and infrastructure networks suppliers. KDN MD Kai Wulff says that KDN was living up to its promise of being a one-stop shop for telecommunications solutions through provision of low cost bandwidth that will guarantee affordable and reliable high speed broadband service not only in the East Africa region but throughout Africa.
“The project will deliver better and more affordable telecommunications advances, inline with those currently enjoyed by most developed countries," says Wulff. “From 2005, when we laid our first fibre optic cable in Nairobi, our ambitions have grown exponentially. Soon, we will have laid cable throughout East Africa, and from there, we have the entire African continent in our sights.”
East Africa has, to date, made use of the VSAT satellite for international communication. “This means that information sent from Kenya to Uganda effectively had to travel 72 000 km from Kenya to the satellite and then to Uganda. KDN’s new terrestrial fibre network will shorten the route by 90%, inherently resulting in cost savings to the consumer,” says Wulff.
In August 2008, KDN became the first ICT company to construct a Ksh7-billion (R700-million) termination point at the Kenyan coast in anticipation of East Africa’s three international undersea cables. KDN’s fibre optic cable will connect Kampala to the undersea cables that land in Mombasa and will also provide the benefits to Uganda.
“KDN considers the undersea cables crucial to the region’s advancement and will continue to invest heavily in infrastructure as part of its vision to connect people with high quality and affordable services,” says Wulff.
Altech has good experience in running the next generation network in Kenya through its acquisition of KDN. This fibre network will span four countries by September 2009: Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Altech also has WiMax and related experience through WiMax roll-outs in Kenya (KDN) and Uganda (Infocom). Meanwhile, it has international bandwidth capacity through its equity stake in Teams.