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ICT Nigeria Information and Communications Technology in Nigeria: The Journey so far in ICT4D (2)
Sep 2010 - Internet penetration is however still too low at 17.1% (ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Database 2009) to make significant impact in society. Broadband options are some of the options being explored to improve quality and penetration. Presently Nigeria's main broadband access is through the SAT-3 submarine fiber-optic cable network. This monopoly in the provision of wholesale broadband and the absence of last mile equipment contributes to high pricing. Availability, quality and pricing needs to improve.
Wholesale broadband Interest in Africa
Fortunately, the massive potential in Africa has generated serious interest and investment in the provision of wholesale broadband to Africa. A number of undersea cable systems are currently in various stages of construction. These projects are expected to boost broadband penetration in Nigeria and Africa tremendously.
Notable submarine cable projects that intend to link Nigeria with
expanded international bandwidth capacity are Glo-1 (Globacom, Nigeria's
second national operator), Main One (Main Street Technologies), West
African Cable System (WACS), ACE Consortium.
Globacom, Nigeria's mobile and national network operator, has embarked on a broadband strategy through its Glo1 submarine cable. Glo1 landed in Nigeria in September 2009. Globacom has also announced its readiness lay its fibre cable across the country for broadband service penetration.
"Glo-1 is unusual because it was financed entirely by a single telecom company, Globacom, Nigeria's second national carrier. Glo 1", the multi-million dollar international submarine cable project of national operator, Globacom
Globacom is promising to extend broadband services via the project to all other African countries. The 9800km cable is coming from Bude in UK and connects Nigeria to the rest of West Africa and the UK.
Main One which has landed in Nigeria and Ghana runs from Portugal into the coast of West Africa. The Main One cable is expected to launch its services in July 2010. Main One has promised to deliver high-speed bandwidth of 1.92 terabits per second. Main One partnered with Tyco to build the complete submarine cable system, while it partnered with Huawei technologies for the terrestrial last mile.
The West African Cable System (WACS) project is sponsored by an international consortium of telecommunications operators, which include Angola Telecom, British-owned Cable & Wireless, Telecom Namibia, Portugal Telecom, Congo's Sotelco, Togo Telecom, and South African companies MTN, Telkom, Vodacom, state-owned Broadband Infraco, and Tata Communications through Neotel among others. WACS aims to construct and maintain a US$600-million) submarine fibre-optic cable which should be completed and available by February 2011.
In early 2010, Etisalat Nigeria, joined other 5 telecom operators, to be part of the ACE consortium project which is rolling out a submarine cable system from France to South Africa. The new operators are Etisalat Nigeria, Expresso Telecom Group (Mauritania, Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria), Globalink (Sierra Leone), Mauritius Telecom, Office Congolais de Poste et Telecommunication (Democratic Republic of Congo) and Sierratel (Sierra Leone). It is expected that the ACE submarine cable system will be ready for service in 2011.
Beyond Voice, Beyond Mobile
Evidently, these various cable projects can only help in boosting broadband availability and access in Africa. Africa will no longer be seen as simply a voice or mobile telecom continent. The development of the mentioned broadband expansion initiatives intended to link Nigeria and Africa with expanded international bandwidth is a major positive for broadband and ICT for development. The sensible thing to do therefore is to encourage these initiatives that improve broadband availability and enhance competition within the broadband space. It is about empowering the Nigerian people - removing the hurdles and smashing the myths! Nigerians refuse to be spectators in the digital age.
Another notable intervention is the State Accelerated Broadband Initiative (SABI) developed by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC). It is a Private Public Partnership scheme aimed at closing the broadband telecom gaps in unserved communities. NCC partners with selected providers to improve penetration in identified areas in the country.
This article includes excerpts from Jide Awe's presentation, "Public Private Partnership (PPP) in ICT for Development in Nigeria" presented at the eNigeria 2010 International Summit held at the Shehu Musa Yar' Adua Centre, Abuja, Nigeria on May 20, 2010
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Sept 8, 2010
Temitope James of Abuja, FCT, Nigeria says:
Interesting information that should be used to address development of Nigeria. I hope the government will take the necessary action so that can key into the ICT age.
Sept 1, 2010
Marshal Johnson of Kaduna, Nigeria says:
Good talk. Broadband will help us from all I've heard about it. Hope it will be available and cheap for everyone.
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