Kenyan broadband provider Jamii Telecommunications Ltd (JTL) intends to spend around KES261 million (USD2.9 million) on a comprehensive upgrade of its entire fibre-optic network, with a view to situating itself in pole position for government tenders to bring internet connectivity to the country’s rural counties. According to Business Daily Africa, the upgrade will see JTL’s existing Ethernet network upgraded to the Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) standard, giving it more security than rivals Kenya Data Networks (KDN) and Telkom Kenya as it seeks to formulate working relationships with banks and other financial institutions perceived to be increasingly susceptible to cyber-crime.
Joshua Chepkwony, chairman of JTL, said that the upgrade – which is scheduled to commence next week – is expected to be completed by end-March; it will cover Nairobi, Mombasa, Naivasha, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kisumu, Kitale, Bugoma, Busia, Kakamega, Thika, Kisii and Kericho. Chepkwony added: ‘The upgrade will give us a head start over our rivals, especially in the counties where banks and government will require secure internet connections due to the sensitivity of the information they handle’. The cost of the project – for which equipment will be provided by Israel-based supplier ECI Telecom – will be met through vendor financing, with JTL fulfilling its credit obligations in a series of instalments.