Kenya’s telecommunication service provider Safaricom plans to connect 2,000 more households to its fiber optic network by the end of 2015. The operator says the move will reduce its reliance on its voice business as a profit driver. Safaricom says it has so far connected 6,047 homes and plans to increase the number by using 2,328 kilometers of fiber cable network it has rolled out in ten towns to reach home internet users, public service providers, and commercial buildings.
Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore said his company intends to increase its customer base for fiber to homes to 8,000 by the end of 2015 as well as enhance fixed calling, cloud, and managed services.
Safaricom has started roll-out the fiber optic infrastructure in 2012. The company has connected 1,002 commercial buildings. Mobile data is currently the fastest growing revenue stream for the company, with direct connections to fiber seen as a way of further boost the uptake of internet services by offering faster and more reliable connections. The move will expand Safaricom’s Internet service offerings such as video conferencing and TV viewing which the telco cannot offer on the modem platform.
Safaricom also has WiMax frequencies to connect homes but the limited frequencies have slowed large-scale deployment of wireless data networks. Connecting more customers to fiber will increase Safaricom’s competition against rivals like Jamii Telecoms, Liquid Telecoms, Wananchi, and Orange Kenya.
Jamii Telecom’s Jamii Faiba dominates this market segment with 7,486 customers connected to its fiber infrastructure of more 4,000 kilometers across the country. Orange Kenya has 4,500 km of fiber optic network spread across the country while that of Access Kenya stands at 350 kilometers.
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