Archive for the ‘Telkom Kenya’ Tag

Review of Fibre Optic Cable in East Africa – Part 2

Fast forward to Q2 of 2009, and Kenya has finally joined the ranks of the information superhighway, thanks to two submarine fibre optic cables, dubbed TEAMS an EASSY safely in Mombasa.

Post Update!

Thanks to Seth’s comment in Part 1, SEACOM (a Mauritius based company, that provides high capacity bandwidth linking business and communities) is laying a cable that will link the East Coast of Africa linking Southern and East Africa, Europe and South Asia. There is a landing at Mombasa for the 1.2TB/s capacity cable, to enable high definition TV, peer to peer networks, IPTV, and surging Internet demand. Pricing will be significantly lower than current satellite or fibre pricing cable. Bring it on SEACOM!

Read part 1 here for details and comment. What does it mean for internetpreneurs like me who want to hog broadband bandwidth from the balcony? What does it mean for technology companies in Kenya? What about education institutions? Once the mystical fibre optic cable lands in Mombasa, Kenya will never be the same again. At least that is what pundits tell us. We are assured of bottom rock priced high-speed Internet, access to the vaults that hold all the information we could ever need. But is price the issue?

What Kenya needs badly is last mile infrastructure, the home stretch. We have invested heavily in backbone transmission capacity from Mombasa where the cable is landing to the rest of the country. Telkom Kenya, KDN, Jamii Telkom and the Govt of Kenya through FONN is ensuring every village will have lit fibre a stone throw away. Many large institutions (hospitals, research institutes, education institutes etc have their own campus fibre ring).

Last mile ….. The question is how then do we interconnect my village ePasha center to the world? The options are limitless, with wireless providing some of the best options. Am seeing some home grown companies offering my village connectivity to the backbone cable. We could use wireless e.g WiMAX to deliver the information to my coffee farm. The options are many, and we shall not be re-inventing the wheel. In another part of this series we shall look at what the ISPs and PDNOs are offering.

The biggest boom is however expected in the BPO sector. Already the operators in this sub-sector have formed an association to better front their cause and case. It is expected that with a large pool of young, educated Kenyans with impeccable English (unlike mine), this area will take off. But we need to remember that this industry is very competitive and we shall be late entrants. I still think that we can do alot of call centres (alot of experience is being developed especially by the GSM operators), back office operations, software technology parks, and other outsourcing jobs that can keep our people happy and gainfully employed. We can now comfortably have hosting companies and managed server farms, offering crucial redundancy and disaster recovery for others in the rest of the world. Ah! it shall truly be exciting times in Kenya.

While we celebrate the landing of the cable (I cannot wait for that day), we need to think ahead and create opportunities for our economy, so the landing of the cables at Mombasa is not the end of the story.

TEAMS and EASSY, we await. In part 3 we shall look indepth at BPO, calls centres, software technology parks, cyber villages (and cafes), KeKoBi, and the Kenya ICT Boards role.