Multi-media firm, the Wananchi Group, is using the national electricity
transmission network to build a fibre optic platform expected to open a
new front in the bruising battle for control of Kenya's lucrative media
market, writes Kui Kinyanjui in Business Daily of Nairobi.

The platform – a product of an agreement between the media firm and Kenya Power and Lighting Company — puts Wananchi on a converged media highway that enables it to compete in television content, internet provision, data and voice transmission markets.

"We are deploying the "design unseen" network in key urban areas that enables us to install our fibre network on KPLC's electricity poles," said Suhayl Esmailjeee, the chief operating officer at Wananchi Group.

A national fibre optic network running on KPLC's power transmission system offers Wananchi the potential to play in TV broadcasting and telecoms markets and a chance to compete in the internet service providers (ISPs).

Replicating KPLCs power transmission network gives Wananchi access to the more than one million electricity customers and substantially reduces the cost of cable TV transmission that is currently only possible with the expensive infrastructure support involving the digging of trenches to lay terrestrial cables.

It gives Wananchi a head-start in the race for control of premium TV market currently under the grip of MultiChoice Africa under the DStv brand but analysts warned that Wananchi could also use the massive bandwidth it offers to transmit self-generated local content making it a direct competitor in the Kenyan television scene.

Click here to read the full report, posted on Business Daily's website.