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Kenya turns power transformers to internet hotspots

Eliud Owalo

Kenya intends to use its more than 70,000 power transformers as internet hotspots across the country.

This, the government stated, will be accomplished through collaboration between the government and the Kenya Power and Lighting Company.

The concept, which was announced over the weekend, will use power lines rather than putting fibre on the ground.

A government official announced that Wi-Fi hotspots will be installed on Kenya Power transformers soon.

"Kenya Power has 74,000 transformers all over the country," said Eliud Owalo, cabinet secretary for information, communication, and digital economy. "Where there is a transformer in that location, we will leverage that infrastructure to have an internet hotspot."

He noted that the initial objective for the rollout was to build 25,000 hotspots.

"The 74 000 transformers will enable us to triple our target," Owalo stated during a Chamber of Commerce meeting over the weekend.

He also revealed that installing the fibre alongside Kenya Power cables was drastically decreasing costs.

He said: "Rolling out fibre by digging trenches costs us approximately KSh2.3 million (US$17,510) per km. Using this methodology, we will use KSh600 000 ($4 568) per kilometre."

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