Kenya Power is one of the companies that has caused chest pains to many Kenyans. Ordinary Kenyans are always crying for one reason or another, and rarely does it elicit any positive comments. For shareholders, it is a worse story as shown by the share price below.
Recently, Kenya Power announced plans to connect rural homes with internet. This is a good plan, but coming almost too late. I have always thought Kenya Power could have become an ISP long time ago because they already have the infrastructure. It could also have helped to halt their dwindling fortunes through the alternative source of income. Past executives at the company must have slept on the job.
While people debate whether Kenya Power can provide reliable internet, I do not think this should be a matter of debate. Already, Kenya Power has cables running into millions of homes. They have a wide network of dark fiber that telecommunication companies lease to ‘carry the internet’ that we use every day. They have a fully fledged telecommunications department that is up to the task.
Why then not provide internet?
Reliability is not a question here because we are already having a situation where people do not have access to the internet. It is unimaginable to work from home in rural areas because the only option available is mobile internet, which sometimes is unreliable and also very expensive. This is the gap that Kenya Power can fill.
It will also be a good thing for the environment, for there will be no need to lay new poles and posts to carry the cables. Neither will there be need to dig up trenches for infrastructure. Already, some ISPs are using existing Kenya Power posts to run their optical fiber network. It has already been tested.
The other unintended benefit is that power and internet will always go down at the same time, giving rural chaps a break to go and walk in the villages.