Liquid Telecom is one of the Africa’s leading data, voice and IP providers. It has laid 4,200 kilometers of fiber optic network in Kenya alone. It is now intending to connect 39 out of the 47 counties at a cost of $200m. This in a bid to increase Internet access as government and private institutions expand their services to the counties.
Demand for fiber Internet infrastructure in the counties is initially driven by customers expanding to new territories. Banks in particular are opening rural branches. Eighty per cent of the banks in Kenya currently on the Liquid Telecom fiber network linking ATMs as well as providing secure inter-office connections from rural branches to head office.
The growing rural banking network is contributing to the high uptake of banking services. This high uptake grew significantly from 13.5 per cent in 2006 to 29.2 per cent in 2013, according to the Fin Access National Survey. Telephone operators providing 3G services, many of which Liquid Telecom provides the bandwidth for, are also driving the network expansion to the counties.
“We believe that everyone has the right to be connected and so investing in the build out of infrastructure to the counties will help us in our goal to connect every person and business in Africa. Internet offers unprecedented opportunities for economic growth in developing countries. By providing access to information, connecting people to businesses everywhere, and opening up new markets, the Internet can transform the very nature of an economy and support economic development,” said Ben Roberts CEO of Liquid Telecom Kenya.
Roberts added that their main concern is a stable Internet connection that enables them provides swift services to the public through accessing information on the national database, allowing regional staff to process requests and make real time updates, and a fiber network is more reliable in these instances.
Government ministries as well as parastatals setting up regional offices have also brought a sharp surge in communication needs. This includes access to core databases, approvals of transactions, email and information sharing within ministries and sub counties across many locations.
Liquid Telecom has connected 25 parastatals plus their branches across the country. It includes 25 centers for Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KALRO), 4 centers for the Kenya Water Institute, Kenya Industrial Property Institute, Kenya Ports Authority, as well as all the tea estates under the Kenya Tea Development Authority.
Extending Internet access in fast growing economies can raise living standards and incomes by up to $600 per person a year, and could lift 160m people out of extreme poverty, according to a report from Deloitte.
For government, the cost savings through moving service delivery online drives further economic gains. In Kenya, the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) has so far reduced its administrative costs from 60 per cent to 32 per cent by automating its claims processing to enable online pre-approval, enabling access of real-time data, and tracking of payment processes. The connection of counties is expected to further lower these administration costs. Liquid Telecom’s investment in the fiber network is driven by its commitment to delivering a positive economic impact through increasing Internet connectivity.
“It is imperative to create an Internet infrastructure that will enable counties to access institutional intranet facilities, parastatals to provide services to the people, and business people to flourish. Internet is a key requirement for this to happen,” said Mr. Roberts.
His sentiments are supported by reports that 10 per cent increase in broadband use correlates to a 1.38 per cent increase in GDP growth, according to the World Bank.
Liquid Telecom is the leading independent data, voice and IP provider in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa. It supplies fiber optic, satellite and international carrier services to Africa’s largest mobile network operators, ISPs, financial institutions and businesses of all sizes.
Multi-award-winning Liquid Telecom has built Africa’s largest single fiber network which runs from the north of Uganda to Cape Town, currently spanning over 18,000km across borders and covering Africa’s fastest-growing economies where no fixed network has existed before.
Liquid Telecom’s network provides connectivity onto the five main subsea cable systems landing in Africa; WACS, EASSY, SEACOM, SAT3 and TEAMs. Working under various brands, the Liquid Telecom Group has operating entities in Botswana, DRC, Kenya, Lesotho, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, UK, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The company was named Best African Wholesale Carrier for the last three consecutive years at the annual Global Carrier Awards.