Fibre Optic Cable
An integral part of KETRACO’s transmission lines is optical fibre cabling.
A fibre optic cable will be strung between the tops of all new high-voltage transmission towers combining the functions of grounding and communications. The Fibre optic cables are based on Optical Pilot Ground Wire (OPGW), with 48 optical fibres or cores.
An OPGW cable contains a tubular structure with one or more optical fibres in it, surrounded by layers of steel and aluminium wire. The conductive part of the cable serves to bond adjacent towers to earth ground, and shields the high-voltage conductors from lightning strikes.
The fibre will be utilized by KETRACO for communications as part of the power system. Fibre optics technology uses light pulses instead of radio or electricity signals to transmit messages. This communication system can gather information about the system, such as which transmission lines are in service and the amount of power being carried, meter reading at interchange points, and status of equipment and alarms. The fibre optic cable allows voice communications between power dispatchers and line maintenance crews and provides instantaneous commands that control the power system operations.
KETRACO will retain a few of the fibres for this purpose while the remaining dark fibres will be available for lease by Service Providers.
KETRACO will eventually have over 4000 kilometres of optical fibre criss-crossing the country, spanning from Mombasa (submarine cables) across to the borders of Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania. This will play a huge role in boosting internet usage in Kenya and inter-linking the African continent with unlimited high speed broadband.