According to Business Daily Africa, Kenyan telcos Safaricom and Airtel Kenya are poised to embark on a joint venture (JV), which will see them deploy an independent fibre-optic network in a bid to curtail their reliance on third parties for wholesale internet access. Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore told the website that the domestic telecoms giant initiated talks with a number of local operators, including Telkom Kenya and Essar Telecom Kenya (ETK, or ‘yu’) for the project, but only Airtel has expressed an interest thus far. Collymore commented: ‘We are going to roll out the fibre in the coming financial year, it will involve partnering with other mobile operators. Safaricom and Airtel have a long standing tower sharing agreement, and we have similar agreements with Telkom Kenya and Essar. Therefore, collaborating in fibre-optic network deployment is an extension of this, and will ensure that operators minimise costs while avoiding duplication’. The CEO said that the deployment will not affect its existing contract with wholesale providers such as Jamii Telecoms Ltd (JTL) and AccessKenya. The scope and price of the mooted infrastructure has yet to be disclosed.