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NCC calls for more data center investments

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By Usman Oladimeji

Collaborative effort is required to successfully mainstream data center.

The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has stated that increased spending on data centers within the telecommunications industry is now an absolute necessity as the country’s digital economy goal gains traction. While the government target broadband penetration of 70% by 2025, the broadband penetration (measured by the number of active 3G, 4G, and 5G subscriptions) was 47.36 percent as of December 2022. NCC observed that further data investment is required to further accelerate the broadband agenda, despite that over $1 billion data center investment witnessed so far, primarily in Lagos.

Prof. Umaru Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, made the remarks at the weekend’s Telecoms Sector Sustainability Forum (TSSF) 4.0 in Lagos, Nigeria, hosted by Business Remarks. Danbatta, who was represented at the event with the topic “Mainstreaming Data Centres in the Nigerian Digital Economy” by the Head of Tariff Administration at the NCC, Dr. Sunday Atu, remarked that it requires a collaborative effort to successfully mainstream data centers. Data centers, he argues, need support to keep running and protect national digital sovereignty while also giving preference to content that reflects the country’s cultural norms, contexts, and ideological standards.

Connectivity in Nigeria is predicted to rise by fivefold.

He mentioned that data is widely seen as the new oil on a global scale, especially in the context of the growing digital economy. In part to this, Danbatta explained that data has become a matter of great importance for governments, necessitating the establishment of suitable systems and frameworks to fully exploit and maximize the opportunities presented by this new order. He said data center services are undoubtedly crucial for the advancement of new ideas in the ICT sector and went beyond to have a significant impact on the national economy of many nations in an arrays of ways.

Recent discoveries have shown that there is an infinite amount of prosperity in this area. In recent years, Africa has emerged as a promising new market for multinational technology corporations. Connectivity in Nigeria is predicted to rise by fivefold as a result of investments from tech giants like Google, whose Equiano underwater fiber cable stretches 15,000 km from Portugal to South Africa, with crucial landing locations in Nigeria and Namibia. This investment is also expected to generate 1.6 million new employment opportunities in the country.

Gov’t is taking steps to benefit from the sector’s enormous potential.

Meta, Facebook’s parent company, is also preparing to launch a similar underwater cable in 2024, dubbed 2Africa, with the goal of connecting 16 African countries at a cost of approximately $1 billion. Within its first two to three years of operation, it is expected to stimulate an economic production of nearly $36 billion. These will undoubtedly have far-reaching social and economic effects in Nigeria, but they also highlight the ongoing discussion about the country’s “digital sovereignty” and the need for “national policy and regulatory frameworks to further localize traffic and data,” he said.

Danbatta claims that Nigeria is in a prime position to attract a sizable portion of the global data center market’s billions of dollars. Nigerian government is taking steps to take advantage of the country’s enormous resources and benefit from the sector’s enormous potential. The country’s broadband agenda aims to provide download speeds of at least 25 Mbps in major cities and 10 Mbps in more remote locations. By 2025, it aims to have effective coverage for at least 90% of Nigerians at a cost of no more than N390 per 1GB of data.

Nigeria is supposed to be the leading data center industry in Africa.

According to Ikechukwu Nnamani, the Chief Executive Officer of Medallion Data Centre Ltd, Nigeria is supposed to be the leading data center industry in Africa when considering various factors. Regrettably, our progress has been lacking, while it is quite shocking that African countries such as South Africa and Egypt have surged far ahead of Nigeria. He pointed out that when considering the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), broadband connectivity and mobile subscriptions, Nigeria figures were significantly lower than those of other African countries.

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NCC: Website

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