By Fredrick Obura
Kenya’s growing construction industry is turning out to be a major target for Internet infrastructure providers with top cable firms, Soliton Telmec and the Access Kenya expressing interest in the industry.
The two are looking at the sector as next frontier in growing their businesses and helping the country achieve part of its national blue print Vision 2030.
The 2011 data from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics indicates a growth in the construction sector by 10.7 per cent compared to the dismal performance of 0.3 per cent in the same period in 2010.
Increased lending to the private sector for real estate development boosted activity in the construction sector in the first quarter of 2011.
“The Kenya Vision 2030 puts ICT at the core of its operations, Internet is an enabler which if made easily available to homes can aid in research,” says Abdirahman Sheikh, group chief executive officer Soliton Telmec.
“We have embarked on working with developers to open up Internet access to both high and low income areas,” he says. “We are working with developers in low income areas such as Eastland in a joint strategy that would see new buildings piped with the fibre optic cables,” he says
In a concept referred to as Fibre to the Homes (FTTH), the firm is working with the National Housing Corporation, Ministry of Housing, and the National Social Security Fund to promote an in-building shared optical network infrastructure.
The infrastructure is the practice of providing unrestricted access to the installed infrastructure for transmission of voice, data, and video, cloud services to end users within a commercial building, apartment or other multi-dwelling units.
The technology enhances user experience by allowing wide selection of services from multiple Internet Service Providers. “When one is dissatisfied with an Internet Service provider, he can easily move to alternative service without incurring cabling cost,” he says. “ It virtually eliminates the cost associated with migrating from one operator to another.”
The new strategy (in-building shared optical Network infrastructure) is seen by industry analyst as a way to help reduce the cost of Internet that has remained high despite Kenya being connected to more than three international fibre optic cables.