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HomeAfricaKenyan telecoms firm drops copper cables over high maintenance costs

Kenyan telecoms firm drops copper cables over high maintenance costs

Telkom Kenya-Orange, the country’s oldest telecommunications operator, said Tuesday it was spending US$ 45 million to transfer its services from copper to fibre cables.

The transfer is expected to lessen the firm’s vulnerability to cable vandals, which usually affects businesses, especially its rich corporate clients, including banks and government agencies

Felix Aron, Orange’s top marketing executive, said the change to fibre cables will start with Nairobi’s Upper Hill region, hosting the African headquarters of most multi-national firms, where the copper cables have been most vulnerable to attacks.

Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD), Upper Hill and Milimani areas in Nairobi host several office blocks which are occupied by various government ministries, corporates, NGOs and multi-national firms, as well as diplomatic missions.

A cable cut incident in this location leads to network downtime that affects a significant number of Telkom Kenya-Orange clients.

According to him, the cable replacement will enhance network reliability in the face of rising cable cuts and vandalism.

“The copper infrastructure has various key challenges including the fact that there are several pairs of copper cable, thus complex to restore during faults and also complex to create redundancy. A fibre network on the other hand is more ideal in that it needs shorter time to restore and has redundancy factored in the last mile,” said Aron.

The firm pioneered the fibre cable changeover in 2012, Aron said, adding that the cable rollout will move towards neighboring residential areas where they will upgrade the firm’s network with modern network switches throughout the country.

Interference with cables, he said, is compounded by road construction in the busy corporate segment of the city.

“We acknowledge the fact that the on-going road constructions has greatly affected businesses both large and small in this area. It is for that reason that we decided to accelerate the transformation programme in this area,” said Aron.

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