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KPLC gets fibre license

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 28 – The fibre infrastructure market is set to become more competitive following the granting of the requisite license to the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) that will allow it to lease excess fibre capacity.

The power utility firm has been issued with the Network Facility Provider – Tier 2 licence by the Communications Commission of Kenya that will see it officially enter into the telecoms business.

“The fibre optic network will have excess capacity, which creates an opportunity for commercial exploitation by KPLC to provide facilities for public telecommunication services,” observed the KPLC Managing Director Eng Joseph Njoroge when he received the licence.

The licence will allow KPLC to lease the excess capacity of the fibre to firms licensed to provide telecommunications services in Kenya or to provide transit services through Kenya from neighbouring states for transmission of voice, data, TV and radio signals, as well as internet, video and telecommunication services.

KPLC is currently installing about 1,500 kilometres of high quality fibre optic cable on its countrywide transmission network primarily for its own use, in a $33 million System Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) project.

The SCADA project, which is financed by the European Investment Bank and is being implemented by ABB of Sweden, is expected to be completed by January 2010.

This network will be built progressively and released for use between August 2009 and January 2010.  The contractor is currently working on the 132 kV transmission line along the Nairobi-Mombasa Road between Mtito-Andei and Voi. 

Already the fibre optic connection between Nairobi and Naivasha is in place, installed during the construction of the 220 kV transmission line three years ago.

Signalling its strong intent to offer serious competition to other players, KPLC has advertised an expression of interest requesting telecommunications service providers to indicate their interest to lease the extra capacity that will be available on the Nairobi-Mombasa; Nairobi-Nakuru-Eldoret-Tororo; Eldoret-Kisumu; and Nairobi-Kiganjo-Nanyuki routes. 

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