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AcessKenya touts for more investment in fibre

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 18 – Telecommunications providers have been urged to appropriately build robust networks that can help them fight the rampant cable cuts.

AccessKenya Group Managing Director Jonathan Somen said on Wednesday that providers would be able to keep the cuts and vandalism at bay if they invested heavily in the systematic design of their fibre.

“Companies need to build their networks right. Fibre is designed to be built in rings. If you build a fibre optic ring and get a cut on one side, the other side should then automatically pick up all the traffic and keep the customers operating without them ever knowing that you even have a cut,” he said.

While many operators have suffered huge losses in fibre cuts which sometimes are damaged maliciously by their competition, Mr Somen said the only costs they had incurred was in the amount of money they had spent in constructing their cables by for example digging them dipper into the ground.

The MD who spoke when the company announced the launch of their fibre cable networks said they have three layers of redundancy that ensures that their clients continue to enjoy high speed connectivity even in event that they experience interruptions on their networks.

He added that they have also employed a technology called the ‘carrier ethernet technology’ which runs on Internet Protocol which enables them to offer quality service to their customers.

Last year, the company launched its content division with its portal  and which is now receiving over 1.2 million hits per month in the site. Despite such success however, the lion share (75 to 82 percent) of traffic still goes internationally in search of content, thus pointing to the need to continually develop local content.

“We believe all operators have the responsibility of developing content and give people the information they want to make the internet their communication mode of choice for pulling information in,” the MD added.

For this to happen however, many Kenyans still feel that connectivity costs are still prohibitive going by a recent survey which showed that majority of internet users would like to spend more time online but they are hindered by the high cost and slow speed of connectivity.

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And while Mr Somen maintained that internet costs have come down with the arrival of the TEAMS and SEACOM cables, he blamed the high expectations that people had regarding internet pricing saying they were unrealistic.

He however expressed their commitment to reach out to the millions of Kenyans who still don’t have access to internet services.

“They are about 40,000 to 50,000 corporates in Kenya today. We believe that the market is 20 percent penetrated so there’s lot of people who can be reached. On residential, our research shows that there are over 300,000 home users who would buy ‘high –end broadband’ so that market is 2 to 5 percent penetrated. So there are lots of customers out there,” he said.

Mr Somen who added that their market share has risen to 42 percent said the government’s facilitation to be able to extend their services to the rural areas and thus contribute towards internet penetration.

The reduction of spectrum costs and the development of local content, he pointed out would go a long way in tapping the immense demand that exist in the country and increase connectivity.

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