Another submarine Fibre optic cable system expected to provide high-speed internet connectivity in Kenya and the East African region in general has landed in Mombasa
The new cable brought in by Telkom Kenya will be the sixth linking Kenya with the rest of the world and is expected to connect the country with Asia and Europe.
A submarine communications cable is one laid on the sea bed between land-based stations to carry telecommunication signals across stretches of ocean and sea.
Other submarine cable service providers connecting Kenya and East Africa to the world include East African Marine System (TEAMS), The Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy), the Lower Indian Ocean Network (LION), SEACOM and the Djibouti Africa Regional Express 1 (Dare1).
The new vital undersea cable known as ‘Peace Submarine Cable’ has key landing points in France, Pakistan and Kenya, with plans to extend the same to South Africa in its second phase.
Pakistan and East Africa Connecting Europe (PEACE) is initially a 15,000 km submarine cable from Pakistan to France, extended from Pakistan to Singapore for an additional 6,500km, with main trunk landing in Singapore, Pakistan, Kenya, Egypt and France and branches to the Maldives, Malta and Cyprus.
The Cabinet Secretary (CS) for ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, Joe Mucheru, who led a high-level team in the inauguration ceremony, described the new project a ‘strategic asset’ in the country.
Mucheru expressed the government’s commitment to continue working and collaborating with Telkom and other investors in a bid to ensure that the policy and regulatory environment is ‘conducive for innovation and technological development to thrive’.
“The peace cable will bring faster and more stable communication services connecting Africa, Europe and Asia thus reducing existing communication delays between the continents” he said.
The CS said the massive infrastructure project aims to bring high-speed broadband internet to the country and will go a long way in reducing the digital divide.
He lauded Telkom Kenya for their role in enabling the realization of the new high impact cable system, noting that it builds on the government’s efforts to enhance high quality broadband connectivity across the country.
The CS termed the new cable ‘game-changing infrastructure’ that would be transformative for the country as a whole.
“This new project promises faster, cheaper and more secure internet connectivity and hence transforming the country’s digital economy” said Mucheru, during the official launching ceremony held at the Nyali Sun Africa Beach Hotel.
He said the growing presence of submarine cables proving international connectivity will help solidify the country’s foothold in the region as an ICT hub.
“All these optical fibre cables boosting connectivity is a symbol of the government’s commitment towards improving connectivity and ease of living,” he said.
The CS said plans to make Kenya a leader in ICT investment and innovation are in top gear despite the country being in the throes of August 9 general election.
Among those present were Telkom CEO Mugo Kibati, PEACE cable high representative Oliver Zheng, and Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) in the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, Nadia Abdalla.
Kibati said Telkom is committed to positioning its infrastructure asset base, terrestrial network and submarine cable capacity to drive the digital transformation.
“We are also committed to create a future smart landing hub for the majority of the submarine cables in the region as we continue to provide cross-connections to all data entering and exiting Kenya,” he added.
According to the Telkom boss, the 15,000m long PEACE cable will give Kenya a strategic boost with respect to more flexible digital connection options, including high speed of 200 Gbps per single wavelength with a total capacity of 192Tbps, as well as stable and secure data access possibilities.
“This ultra-high capacity cable will assist Kenya and the region in meeting its current and future broadband capacity requirements, bolster redundancy, minimise transit time of our country’s connectivity to Asia and Europe, as well as assist carriers in providing affordable services to Kenyans,” said Kibati.
He noted that the increased demand for data and broadband as well as digital financial services by corporates, the public sector and the individual consumer was reinforced by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to accelerated digital transformation.
Kibati said, “the pandemic confirmed our strategic urgency to bridge the digital divide to ensure equitable access to mobile networks.”
The CEO further said the investment in cables is of strategic importance to Telkom as it views access to the internet as a fundamental human right.
By Mohamed Hassan