The State Department of ICT, Telkom Kenya and its “DARE 1” (Djibouti African Regional Express) partners have concluded the first raft of commercial negotiations in Djibouti, paving way for the manufacturing process and associated material.
The consultative meetings kicked off post the completion of a 35-day survey in the last week of January 2019, an endorsement of the implementation of the proposed 36TB Terabyte fibre cable, projected to run approximately 4,000km interconnecting Kenya to Djibouti.
During the visit, the Kenyan delegation led by Mr Jerome Ochieng – Principal Secretary, State Department of ICT and Dr. Kate Getao – CEO, ICT Authority, the delegation sought redundancy link connectivity, discussed competitive cross-connect and IP traffic transit costs between Djibouti and Mombasa, including capacity development and skill transfer.
Mr Ochieng said: “We expect the consultation and negotiations to take a couple of months between the DARE 1 consortium members, including the landing party partners with Telkom as a key stakeholder. Thanks to these negotiations, the region is closer to a digital economy from affordable Gigabit services in the region.”
As the landing partner for the DARE 1 cable, this cements Telkom Kenya’s data carrier position in the region with the bigger capacity on the fibre optic cable delivered on newer technology.
According to Mr Mugo Kibati – CEO, Telkom, the cable comes at a time when most cables are coming to the end of their lifeline, which usually ranges between 15-20 years. It also provides a redundant international connection on newer and more reliable technology and the biggest capacity in the country, which is an essential boost to the region’s digital economy.
Mr Kibati said: “Telkom is excited to conclude the landing party agreement with Djibouti Telecoms considering the benefits it has in store for the country. This investment offers diversity in the routing of traffic and also provides for fibre continuity, considering the risk at the high seas.”
The development of regional backbones such as the DARE 1 will increase access to data in the region, with eventual gains being realised on cost for the end consumer.
Telkom Kenya owns a 23% stake in TEAMs, a 5,000km undersea fibre optic cable through Fujairah, UAE; a 10% stake in LION2 another 2,700km undersea fibre optic cable through Mauritius.
It also owns a 2.6% stake in the East African Submarine System Cable and manages the National Optic Fibre Backbone, an inland fibre optic cable network running through Kenyan counties.