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FG approves 90000km fiber optic deployment

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By Abraham Adekunle

This is towards revolutionizing communication in the country.

Nigeria’s Federal Government has taken a significant step towards transforming the country’s digital economy and technology start-up ecosystem by approving two critical projects. According to Communication, Innovation, and Digital Economy Minister, Dr. Bosun Tijani, the first project involves the deployment of 90,000 kilometres of fiber optic cable across Nigeria through a public-private partnership. This ambitious project aims to increase the country’s total fiber optic cable to 125,000 kilometres, making it the third longest terrestrial fiber optic cable in Africa.

The deployment of additional fiber optic cables is expected to address the current underutilization of Nigeria’s eight submarine cables, which are only being used to about 10% capacity. This investment is projected to contribute to a 1.5% growth in Nigeria’s GDP over the next four years and improve internet quality and reduce prices by about 60%. The project also aims to connect over 200,000 educational institutes, government offices, and critical infrastructures like hospitals that are currently not connected, which will have a significant impact on the digital economy and technology start-ups in Nigeria.

Tech firm has deployed over 10000km of cables nationwide.

Fiber optic cable deployment in Nigeria has been gaining momentum in recent years. IHS Nigeria, a telecommunications infrastructure provider, has completed the deployment of over 10,000 kilometres of fiber optic cables across Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. The company’s subsidiary, Global Independent Connect Limited (GICL), has implemented networks on an open access, shared infrastructure basis, providing robust and scalable fiber pairs and alternate ducts to ensure multiple operators can utilize the infrastructure. IHS Nigeria has strategically focused on Fiber-to-the-Tower (FTTT) deployment to enhance transmission capacity.

The company has also implemented mobile network coverage in over 580 previously unconnected rural communities through its rural telephony program. Nigeria’s National Broadband Plan aims for a 70% broadband penetration in Nigeria by 2025. The plan outlines strategies to achieve this goal, including the deployment of fiber optic cables, upgrading of existing networks, and promotion of public-private partnerships. The second project approved by the Federal Government involves converting the Nigerian property in San Francisco, USA, into a Nigerian start-up house. This hub will provide a platform for Nigerian technology start-ups to access funding and investors in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley, which are recognized globally as major sources of start-up ecosystem funding.

Several initiatives launched to support tech start-up growth.

Last year, investors in the area invested $1.3 billion into technology small enterprises in Nigeria, and the goal is to increase and improve foreign direct investment (FDI) to technology from the region. The Nigerian start-up house will provide a conducive environment for Nigerian technology these businesses to thrive, with access to resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities. This initiative is expected to boost the growth of start-ups in Nigeria, create jobs, and contribute to the country’s economic development.

In addition to these projects, the Federal Government has also launched several initiatives to support the growth of technology in Nigeria. The Nigeria Start-up Bill, recently signed into law, aims to provide a supportive regulatory framework, while the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) outlines a comprehensive plan for the development of the digital economy in Nigeria. The government has also established several programs to support technology start-ups, including the Nigeria Start-up Fund, which provides funding for early-stage businesses, and the National Incubation and Acceleration Program, which provides mentorship and training. These initiatives demonstrate the government’s commitment to supporting the growth in the sector in Nigeria and creating a vibrant digital economy.

Related Article: Fiber broadband to cut internet data costs

Over all, the deployment of 90,000 kilometres of fiber optic cable across Nigeria and the establishment of a Nigerian start-up house in San Francisco are critical projects that will transform Nigeria’s digital economy and technology ecosystem. These initiatives will improve internet quality, reduce prices, and provide a platform for start-ups to access funding and investors. With the implementation of these projects, Nigeria is poised to become a hub for technology innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa.

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