Kenya launches $399m internet cable hoped to unlock digital economy

L-R: Kenya's ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru, Telkom chairperson Eng Eddy Njoroge, Data Commissioner Immaculate Kassait, Telkom CEO Mugo Kibati, ICT Chief Administrative Secretary Nadia Abdallah, PEACE high representative Oliver Zheng, Blockchain and AI taskforce chair Prof Bitange Ndemo and Mombasa County ICT CEC Ahmed Anwar during the launch of the sixth submarine internet cable at Nyali Mombasa on March 29, 2022.

Thirteen years since Kenya welcomed its first ever fibre optic cable, the country has now unveiled a sixth submarine internet cable that promises to offer higher speeds, lower latency and broader bandwidth.

The launch of the Pakistan and East Africa Connecting Europe (Peace) cable on Tuesday comes at a time when the country’s internet economy is rapidly growing, thanks to digital transformation acceleration occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.

As demand rises for cloud storage, heavy internet content streaming, e-commerce platforms, e-learning apps, telehealth systems, fintech innovation and online businesses, the new cable is expected to offer additional broadband to the national fibre backbone network.

The $399.9 million cable connects Africa to France and Pakistan through the Europe-Asia route, providing a direct connectivity to Asia which is expected to reduce communication delays between Africa and Asia.

Affordable mobile data

The launch is a partnership between Peace and Kenya’s most affordable mobile internet data provider Telkom, which creates optimism that mobile data could soon be more affordable. Kenya has the most expensive mobile data in East Africa according to the global Mobile Data Index.

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