What Nigeria needs for effective broadband penetration, by Dambatta

NCC Boss, Umar Garba Danbatta

For Nigeria to have effective broadband penetration, it needs about 120, 000km of metropolitan fibre networks.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja.

He spoke while receiving a delegation from the Nigeria Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council, led by Ms. Edirin Akemu.

The NCC boss explained that the country is still about 82,000km of fibre short of meeting this target, having achieved only about 38,000km.

Dambatta, who called for concerted efforts to be able to bridge the gap, stressed that the required fibre must be interconnected across the country.

He urged the Federal Government to ensure that the governments of the 36 states adhere to the resolution of the National Economic Council on the Right of Way charges.

The charges stipulate N145 per meter for laying fibre network in every part of the country.

He said: “The Right of Way issue is something that has refused to go away, despite the existence of a document guiding what should be charged.  Currently, nobody is complying with the provision of that document.

“We cannot compel the state governments to charge N145 per meter for fibre. The Federal Government could, however, meet with the governors and extract a commitment from them, to ensure that NEC’s provision is strictly adhered to.”

The NCC boss also called for more Information and Communications Technology (ICT) capacity building in the country to fully take advantage of the digital transformation that is presently taking place in the world.

He argued that while Nigeria strives to build the needed ICT infrastructure, the efforts would be in vain “if there is no critical mass of ICT adoption and use to drive the digital revolution”.

The Guardian learnt that fiber optic networks for Internet broadband deployment in Nigeria could be categorised into three levels.

The first is the core network; the second level, the backhaul or backbone networks, while the third level is the access or last mile networks.

According to the CEO, Main One Cable Company, Ms. Funke Opeke: “The cost of moving Internet traffic from Lagos to Abuja is four times higher than the cost of moving the same level of traffic from Lagos to London, using the fiber optic as a medium.”

The findings revealed that the core fiber network connects the country to the world through the submarine fiber optic connection via Europe.

The backbone or backhaul networks connect the backbone switches across the states in the country, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and the central offices.

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