Kenya’s main power utility Kenya Power is reportedly planning to start offering internet connectivity.
Business Daily reports that the company has already been leasing fibre optic cables attached to its transmission lines to internet service providers in the country. However, ambitious plans to connect its own customers (it has well over eight million) would mark a major strategic shift.
The aim, it seems is to target the many rural dwellers it can reach thanks to the ongoing expansion of its grid. This will allow Kenya Power to develop new revenue streams, building on the popularity of mobile data usage in the country.
Big names like Telkom Kenya, Kenya Data Networks and Safaricom already have a strong foothold in this market, but the benefit gained from using its own electricity transmission network could be important for Kenya Power.
How this system would work – fixed wireless or FTTH – is not clear. In addition Kenya’s two main cities, Nairobi and Mombasa, dominate internet use in the country; rural areas are relatively untried markets.
It’s also worth mentioning that Kenya Power is not in great shape financially. As we mentioned in September, Kenya Power suffers from annual power system losses of 23.46 percent on its transmission network. These losses are costing it about $27.25 million every year.
At the time Kenya Power was apparently considering investing in a reliable metering system supplied by Kenyan operator Safaricom in order to cut costs.