The increased number of vandalized Zuku and Safaricom Fibre Cables on our roads is alarming. Building and Road Contractors and other constructing agencies have a habit of removing cables from the ground and piling them up in the middle of the road or in a ditch. They don’t give a damn that those cables cost Zuku, Safaricom and other ISPs millions and billions of shillings to dig and lay down. They don’t care that millions of other shillings will be spent to reconnect those cables back on – and they do not give a damn on lost productivity resulting from Internet outages when those cables are dug out, raptured or vandalized.
In Outer Ring Road a contractor decided to dig out previously laid fibre optics infrastructures belonging to Safaricom and Zuku. The cables are carelessly left in a ditch where anybody can pick and do anything with them. The same case can be seen in our estates where landlords extend their fence by laying foundations everywhere they think is an idle road side. This shows how careless contractors can be when they establish a structure.
In Umoja, kids have started using these fibre optic cables to make toy cars and other accessories which is a waste to Safaricom and Zuku because these cables are supposed to connect homes with Internet. In other places, street kids sell the cables to metal dealers or rogue electricians. Anyway, who is to blame?
Sometimes back, Kenya National Highway Authority (KeNHA) came up with a proposal to Telkom firms meant to reduce the number of fibre optic vandalization, saving millions of shillings lost in repairs and downtime.
The agency provided that they will put telecommunication ducts along the highway, which will be shared by all providers. In addition, they proposed to designate areas where the Internet and mobile phone service providers would jointly construct the ducts at their cost along major roads that are already complete e.g. Thika Superhighway.
In case a cable is vandalized, KeNHA said that it would bear the cost of building the ducts alongside the roads that it plans to construct in future.
Late last year, Safaricom started an initiative to connect 2,000 homes with fibre optic network. Initially, the company managed to connect 6000 homes and commercial buildings in different towns across the country.
The only challenge Safaricom and other Telkom firms are facing is floods and contractors who dig out the cables or leave them exposed.
The vandalization does not just happen in Nairobi. Towns like Kakamega and Kisumu where roads are expanded every year, fibre optic cables and other cables in the ground face massive vandalization from county contractors.
The solution for such actions can be implemented if proper planning is followed by town and city planners because money is wasted relaying the cables every time. Safaricom and Zuku should also come up with solutions to reduce such acts.