Telkom Kenya mulls investing in multiple fibre optic cables for additional redundancy routes

Telkom Kenya is open to investing in multiple undersea fibre optic cables linking the country to international internet connectivity to cushion customers from internet disruptions.

This will beef up Telkom Kenya’s current back-up plan to migrate its international Internet traffic to other undersea cables during   cable cuts and maintenance.

Speaking at an undersea cable sector stakeholder forum in Mombasa, Telkom Kenya Managing Director, Carrier Services, George Mokogi said that Kenyan telco’s should provide other redundancy routes through investment in additional infrastructure lines.

“For Telkom Kenya, protection of the undersea cable to us means availing other routes of redundancy to the nation for internet connectivity to the international world such that should there be any cuts services aren’t compromised, ”said Mokogi.

Telkom Kenya’s stakes in fiber optic undersea cables includes a 23 percent stake in TEAMs, a 5,000-kilometre (through Fujairah in the UAE), 10 percent stake in LION2, a 2,700-kilometre (through Mayotte in Mauritius) and an 8 per cent stake in the East Africa Submarine System (EASSy) cable.  It also manages the governments National Optic Fibre Backbone, a national inland fibre optic cable network at a fee.

With mobile data usage in the country hitting new heights, Telkom Kenya is keen to curb vulnerabilities in its fibre optic infrastructure.

“Mobile data will continue to be greatest contributor of data/Internet subscriptions in an ever increasing digital ecosystem. In this respect, Telkom Kenya will continue to invest in its network infrastructure development to improve connectivity and increase the capacity to cater to the growing mobile market demands” said Mokogi.

In the past three months mobile subscriptions have grown by 1.8 per cent to reach 38.3 million up from 37.7 million, according to latest Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) sector quarterly analysis report.

While Kenya’s telco’s have suffered internet connectivity interruptions from cable maintenance like the recent 10-day TEAMs cable maintenance work at Fujahira port in the United Arab Emirates (UAE),   undersea cables are more susceptible to accidental breakage by ship anchors, fish trawlers and natural disasters.

The submarine cables have in recent years faced cuts that have led to additional costs of restoration being incurred by the telco’s customers.

“The biggest problem with cable systems is not technological – it’s human. Because they run underground, underwater and between telephone poles, cable systems populate the same spaces we do. As a result, we accidentally break them all the time” said Mokogi, adding: “It is therefore very important to sensitize and promote awareness and inclusion of the community residing around the Kenya Internet Exchange Point of the cables’ importance and its protection.”

Boosting Kenya’s undersea fibre optic infrastructure has boosted the country’s e -trade and e-innovation regional status with any 10 per cent increase in bandwidth availability and utilization estimated to create a 1.6% increase in economic development of the country.

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