Thursday, 10 May 2018
By ANNIE NJANJA
Safaricom fibre to the home (FTTH) has connected over 48,000 households with Internet a year after it formed a special unit to grow subscription numbers.
The telco on Wednesday said that it has laid over 5,000 kilometres of fibre optic cable connecting 141,000 homes.
The Safaricom home Internet unit formed in May last year delivers fibre and other technologies to subscribers’ houses across the country.
This month, the telco said that it had connected 53,000 homes after it begun lying fibre optic cables in February. By November last year, the business unit had reached 91,000 homes and connected 28,000 homes.
The home fibre Internet network currently covers six towns countrywide and has reached over 20 estates within Nairobi including South B, Pangani, Syokimau in Machakos County, Kitengela, Ngong and Ongata Rongai in Kajiado County.
It is also available in Mombasa’s Nyali and Bamburi neighbourhoods, parts of Kisumu, Eldoret and Thika towns. The firm has so far connected 15,000 business with fixed Internet, according to the financial results released on Wednesday.
“We have laid more than 5,000 kilometres of fibre, with the number of homes passed reaching 141,000 by the end of the financial year.
“We have also connected 1,800 commercial buildings with Internet,” said Safaricom Chief Financial Officer Sateesh Kamath.
Safaricom has been making strides into Kenya’s living rooms over the past few years, expanding its presence beyond the mobile phone.
The Internet service encourages customers to use more data through value-added services and smart home technologies.
The growing subscription of on-demand services like Iflix and Netflix — which allow people to stream live programmes — and more people opting to work from home have led to increased demand for Internet connectivity in residential buildings.
The telco has also signed deals with video streaming service providers such as Showmax and Kwesé, heightening the rising demand for home Internet.
In January the telco cut mobile data charges for its Internet-enabled digital television decoders, The Big Box, by 53 per cent in a bid to beat competition in the home Internet space.
The set top boxes, launched in 2015, were silently re-launched last November, two years after they were pulled out for an upgrade as sales flattened at 1,500 devices in the first seven months.