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Kenya to get fourth undersea fibre optic cable next year

By | September 6th 2011

By Macharia Kamau and Reuters

Kenya will soon be hooked to yet another undersea fibre optic cable following the near completion of the laying of a France Telecom funded Lower Indian Ocean Network 2 (LION2).

The ship laying the LION 2 — which is set to be Kenya’s fourth undersea fibre optic cable — arrived in Mombasa last Tuesday, marking the completion of actual cable laying.

The cable will now be connected to a main submarine cable in international waters for testing, and is expected to go live in the course of the first half of next year.

The 56.5 million euros (Sh7.5 billion) LION2 will connect Kenya to Mayotte, Madagascar, Mauritius and La Reunion Islands.

Second phase

LION2 is an extension of LION, which connects the Indian Ocean Islands to the world. The initial LION was laid in March last year.

France Telecom, through its subsidiaries in the region — Mauritius Telecom, Orange Madagascar and Telkom Kenya — is a major investor in the second phase of the cable and has put in Sh4.18 billion of the Sh7.5 billion.

The new cable will be a boost to Telkom Kenya, which is actively pursuing deployment of Internet infrastructure in Kenya after it launched a high speed 3G network last week.

Meanwhile, Kenya has invited investors interested in partnering with it to build a super-fast, fourth-generation Long Term Evolution (LTE) services network, as it plans to ramp up investment in the country’s telecoms industry.

LTE — or 4G — networks boast five times faster data transmission speeds than existing 3G networks and support high-definition video conferencing.

"The Government envisages a Private Public Partnership "PPP" model in which the government will undertake to provide the necessary frequency spectrum resources as its contribution, while the private sector will undertake to meet all other costs related to the deployment and operations," the Ministry of Information and Communications said in an advertisement published in local newspapers Monday.

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