Kenya Launches the sixth submarine Pakistan and East Africa connecting Europe cables at Nyali Beach in Mombasa. The 15,000 Km fibres costing Ksh 46 Billion is meant to offset data cost and improve connectivity.
Kenya is set to enjoy faster internet speed and lower charges on new submarine cables with a combined capacity of all existing ones.
The 15,000 kilometers cable dubbed PEACE has a designed capacity of 16 terabytes per second fiber pair with 200 gigabytes per second per single wavelength, almost four times faster than the initial cable that landed on the Kenyan coast in 2009.
Speaking during the launch ICT CS Joe Mucheru said the new cable is coming to enhance existing ones, bring efficiency and help in cutting high internet costs in the country.
“This cable will disrupt the technology sector in the country, improve speed and reduce costs to inspire social-economic development not just in Kenya but Africa,” Mucheru said.
The latest survey on internet costs by the World Internet Stats shows while Kenya has the second-highest internet connectivity in Sub-Saharan Africa after South Africa, costs are almost five times that compared to Europe.
It puts monthly internet costs in Kenya at an average of Sh2, 800 for 10mbps, way above the global average of Sh2100.
Mucheru said high internet cost is a barrier to innovation, adding that the government is working with the private sector to ensure quality and affordability.
This is the sixth submarine landing on the Kenyan coast and is estimated to have cost $400 million close to (Sh46 billion).
The amount is five times more compared to the cost of the initial cable by SEACOM that was launched in 2009.
Information Technology expert and former ICT PS Bitange Ndemo lauded the launch of the new cable, saying it is poised to take Kenya to the next level of technological empowerment.
“The first cable we launched in 2009 is credited for several innovations that have put Kenya on the global map. Before then, we used to rely on satellites. We have come a long way,” Ndemo said.
The cable is connecting Pakistan, Kenya, Egypt, France and countries along the way with an extension to Singapore and South Africa.
It was funded under Public Private Partnership courtesy of Telkom Kenya, Orange, Telecom Egypt, Cybernet, HMN Tech and PCCW Global.
Kenya is shaping up as a centre stage for the ongoing scramble for Africa in the tech space, with international firms from Europe, America and Asia landing their marine cables at the coast.
The country has now six such cables in a span of a decade, with the first one being by SEACOM in 2009 followed by The Teams in 2010.
Others are Lion2 and EASSY, DARE1, which are being hosted by Telkom Kenya.
According to Telkom Kenya CEO Mugo Kibati, the company has a terrestrial backbone of 600 kilometers across the country, connecting at least 34 counties in Kenya and neighbouring countries of Ethiopia, Uganda, Somalia, Tanzania and Sudan.
”The investment in submarine cables is of strategic importance to Telkom, where we view access to the Internet as a fundamental human right,” Kibati said.
He added that interest in this kind of delivery infrastructure is growing due to the sharp increase in the demand for Internet services including cloud computing, streaming, gaming, connected devices, and also taking into account the customer’s demand for seamless service provision with no interruption.’
PEACE Cable’s chief operating officer, SUN Xiaohua said it will bring more diversified digital connection options and provide high-speed, large-capacity and stable data access opportunities to Kenya in the future.
The new cable is coming to Kenya just days after the Google-owned subsea cable landed in Togo, West Africa and is expected to make land in South Africa and countries in Africa by the end of 2022.
Dubbed Equiano cable, the first of its kind to reach Africa, has wound its way from Portugal and will double internet speed for Togo’s 8 million residents
According to Google, 300 million people will come online in Africa and the cable promises to improve connectivity and bring the benefits of technology to more Africans.