News Column

Power firm seeks CCK nod to lease out fibre network

May 1, 2014

IMMACULATE KARAMBU -1



The Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) is seeking a portion of the growing data business — filing an application to the telecommunications regulator for a licence to lease its fibre optic cable network to Internet service providers.

In response to the application, the Communications Corporation of Kenya has published a notice calling for comments from the public before making the final decision. The public has 30 days from last Friday.

"The reason for the grant of the licence is to enable the applicant (Ketraco) to operate and provide network facilities services," says the notice by CCK.

ADDITIONAL REVENUE

All power transmission lines contain a fibre optic cable that aids communication between generators and the control centres.

According to Mr Raphael Mworia, head of communications at Ketraco, the company is keen on generating additional revenue from the unutilised capacity within its network by leasing it to Internet providers.

"We think of it as an investment opportunity, especially now that we are building more lines and we do not exhaust our capacity within the fibre cable," Mr Mworia said.

By so doing, Ketraco will be following in the steps of Kenya Power that is currently generating revenue from leasing part of its network to Internet service providers.

The electricity distributor has been collecting as much as Sh100 million a year in revenue from such leases, on behalf of Ketraco, from the existing high voltage transmission lines.

LEASING OWN NETWORK

This is besides the funds it receives from leasing its own network, estimated to measure about 3,000 kilometres.

Ketraco is targeting to lease about 4,000km of its network once ongoing projects are completed.

The company is constructing a 328km transmission line between Mombasa and Lamu, a 450km line between Nairobi and Mombasa, a 600km line between Ethiopia and Kenya, a 400km line between Loyangalani and Suswa and a 420km transmission line between Lake Turkana and Suswa, among other projects.

Ketraco is wholly owned by the government.

It is tasked with construction of high voltage electricity transmission lines that will form the backbone of the national transmission grid as per the economic growth blueprint Vision 2030.


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Source: Nation (Kenya)


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