Telkom Kenya picks Avanti satellite to link innovation hubs

Telkom Kenya is to build a satellite network to connect 1,160 business incubation hubs across the network.

The company, the country’s incumbent fixed and mobile operator formerly owned by Orange, has agreed a contract to use Avanti Communications’ Hylas 2 satellite to provide the links.

Avanti CEO David Williams said: “The project is a great example of how our technology is positively impacting ICT development across Africa. Avanti’s proven Ka-band technology continues to consistently deliver high-speed high quality connectivity to meet the needs of the most demanding operators and governments.”

The hubs – to be called Constituency Incubation Hubs (CILs) will allow young adults and entrepreneurs to develop their ICT skills and applications, bringing them into the digital world and enabling them to grow and start new businesses.

There are a total of 290 constituencies as part of the project in Kenya, with 4 CIHs being installed per constituency. Each hub will have a VSAT system, WiFi router and 40 tablet devices, which users will be able to use to connect online and discover new business opportunities.

Kris Senanu, managing director of the enterprise division at Telkom Kenya, commented: “As a strategic partner to the Kenya government’s national ICT agenda, Telkom Kenya is able to provide end-to-end solutions, tailor-made to meet a growing set of needs for the public sector. The CIH project is demonstrable proof of the confidence placed in Telkom Kenya by the government, through the Ministry of ICT, to realise a key connectivity milestone for Kenya.”

Avanti has not put a price on the contract, except to say it is in the millions of dollars. The company has rights to orbital slots covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa, covering a market of over 1.7 billion people. Avanti says it has invested $1.2 billion in a network that incorporates satellites, ground stations, data centres and a fibre ring.

Orange acquired 51% of Telkom Kenya from the country’s government in 2007, later increasing its holding to 70%, but sold its entire stake to Helios Investment Partners in 2016. The government now owns 40% of the company.