Internet provider Liquid Telecom Kenya today unveiled an intensive last mile strategy for 2016 as it announced the completion of its new Nairobi Metro network, built as part of its Sh20.3bn Internet infrastructure investment programme in Kenya.
According to the ISP, its newest and largest Kenyan metro network has been built to state-of-the-art specifications, and has increased Internet speeds in Nairobi ten fold while also eliminating downtime from cable cuts. The upgrade has been driven by the growing needs of business users who need LAN speed connectivity between their branches and data centres, as their business applications, core systems and even security migrate towards the cloud.
The new Metro takes Liquid Telecom Kenya’s network to 4200km of cable, and sees the provider now moving to offer fibre connections to homes and small businesses through its retail brand, Hai. It will also be adding hundreds of WiFi hotspots and additional value-added services in 2016, to extend the speed and reliability of its network to more customers, and to enhance the business and home Internet experience for its existing customers.
“Our over-riding mission has always been to achieve a reach and quality of Internet that will fuel the growth of Kenya’s internet economy, creating jobs and incomes. This sees us turn to our next step, strategically, in focusing this year, on last mile connections and value added service packages for our customers,” said Liquid Telecom Kenya CEO Ben Roberts.
Liquid Telecom Kenya’s intensive investment in the building of Internet infrastructure has seen it connect 39 out of the 47 counties to hi-speed Internet. The company has also built new metro networks in Kisumu, Nakuru, Garissa, Mombasa, Kilifi and a mini metro in Eldoret, and will next year complete metro networks in Meru, Nyeri, Machakos, and Muranga, upgrade its fibre network in Kisii, and extend its Nakuru network to Naivasha.
“The rationale for the scale and speed of our network building was to create a foundation for mass Internet access. The point is to get customers connected, protected and productive,” said Roberts.
To this end, Liquid Telecom Kenya will now be investing around $1m in adding hundreds more new WiFi hotspots in the country through 2016, in addition to its 200 existing free hotspots in Nairobi,Nakuru, Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret, Kariado, and Nyeri.
Liquid Telecom Kenya has also begun connecting fibre to 400 new communications towers in Kenya. “Many communications towers in Africa are now independently owned, so multiple operators can share their use. Liquid Telecom’s fibre is also independent of any mobile network operator, meaning that operators in Kenya are now turning to us to use our fibre assets as the most cost effective way to deliver the mega bandwidth they need to deliver LTE 4G services from each tower,” said Roberts.
Liquid Telecom Kenya is additionally now rolling out home connections and small business packages under its Hai Internet service, which is already operating in Runda and other housing estates, providing unlimited packages at highly competitive prices. The Hai packages have also been built with a variety of value-added services, including video-on-demand ipidi tv.
The provider has also launched CrashPlan, a service that automatically backs up all data all the time, ending the business traumas caused by data loss.
“As we move to offer a more advanced level of connectivity to homes and small businesses, as well as our existing client base of enterprises, institutions, government and banks, we have developed multiple extra tools to deliver services that really fulfill the needs of consumers and support their livelihoods and quality of life,” said Roberts.
“We believe that the advances in technology in Kenya mean the country is now positioned to explore new tech frontiers, and our upgraded infrastructure now opens multiple opportunities for businesses and homes to experiment with innovative online products, such as video-on-demand,” he said.
Kenya is now a market leader in Africa in Internet connectivity, with the highest bandwidth per person. The country’s Internet users stood at 29.6m in the last quarter of 2015, with mobile data and Internet subscriptions climbing to 19.8m up from 14.7m the previous quarter, according to The Quarterly Sector Statistics Report by the Communication Authority of Kenya.