How Kenya connects to the Internet

26.12.2013 Fabian Rendon

Kenya is one of Africa’s fastest developing economies and it is the first country in East Africa to install the fiber-optic cables. Due to increase in the number of Internet users the country is set to double the Internet capacity with fiber optic cable.

What is a fiber cable?

We cannot continue without getting to know what a fiber cable is. An optical fiber cable is a type of cable that contains one or more optical fibers. Kenya is served by three of these cables found under the sea, hence the name undersea cables. One of the cables - East African submarine systems runs from Sudan to South Africa. The second one is the East African marine system which runs from Kenya to the United Emirates Arab and the last one-SEACOM which runs from Kenya to South Africa.

However, there is another fiber-optic that connects Kenya to Uganda and Tanzania. Previously, connectivity was only through satellite but it was expensive and a slower medium in comparison, as well as having a lot of connection problems. The use of undersea cables has positively improved connectivity, speed and reliability.

According to reports from the communication commission of Kenya (CCK), there has been a drastic increase in the number of Internet users, estimated to be a figure of around 14.3 million. The percentage level of Internet users in Kenya is high when compared to other countries in East Africa.

The installation of the optic-fiber cable has greatly increased business process outsourcing, also known as BPO. This has been pivotal in the propelling of the country into a middle-income economy.

Through the BPO, multinational companies have contracted other companies to offer non-core services. There are high hopes that the BPO industries will have a significant impact in Kenya through wealth creation and other advantages that come with it.

A fifth undersea fiber-optic cable is set to land in Kenya in order to expand the East African country’s Internet capacity. This has increased the hopes for development in the information technology sector, job creation and education in the near future.

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