Omobola Johnson, Communications Minister
Acknowledging the huge broadband capacities deposited at the shores of the country by MainOne, Glo 1, MTN WACS, and SAT 3, technology expert has said that the best way to deploy the capacities is through microwave radio solution.
Chief Executive Officer of WaveTek, a technology solution provider, Mr. Ken Spann, told THISDAY that the best and cost-effective method to deploy broadband is through microwave radio, a wireless solution for last-mile connectivity, which is an alternative to fibre optic cable laying.
According to him, “the best technology available to Nigeria today that will yield best results is the virtual network solution, which is a microwave radio solution that is built on fibre cables, and it is capable of covering long distances at high speed.”
Spann, who was reacting to the low broadband penetration in the country in spite of the huge broadband capacity at the shores of the country, said: “The issue is not with low broadband capacity, because Nigeria has a lot of capacity from MainOne, Glo1, Sat 3, MTN WACS and others. Capacities that are lying on the shores of the country are goldmine for Nigeria, but they are not being utilised because of the absence of a national backbone infrastructure that will transport the capacities to the hinterlands.”
He explained that MainOne Cable for instance, has over 7000 km of bandwidth from Portugal to Ghana, through Nigeria, and that it came with 2 terabytes capacity. MTN WACS, he added, brought in 5 terabytes and Glo 1 landed with some terabytes of capacities as well, but all these capacities are just there at the shores of the country unutilised, whereas people are in dare need of capacities to do business in the hinterlands.
“All we are saying is that these capacities must find their ways to the hinterland where they are needed, and the best, cost effective and faster ways to move the capacities from the shores to the hinterlands, will be through microwave radio, a wireless connectivity system, which is an alternative to fibre laying across country. Deploying fibre cable is good, but it is expensive and difficult to lay it underground, because of environmental challenges. This is the reason we are saying microwave radio that is built over fibre cables is cheaper and faster to deploy,” Spann said.
Insisting that a virtual fibre network is the wireless solution that will give the desired results in last-mile connectivity, Spann said he could take a set of one gigabyte link of fibre and spread it from point ‘A’ to cover a distance of 10 km in just one day. “That means in one day, I can provide access to people in one single stretch of over 10 km, which the underground fibre cable laying will not achieve in four months, because of environmental factors,” he said, adding that apart from speed of coverage, it is much more economical and cost saving to deploy microwave radio, which is the alternative fibre laying.
Other countries of the world are already deploying microwave solution over fibre, and Nigeria must not be left out, he said, explaining that the country needs something better, faster, cheaper and more reliable for her broadband deployment.
WaveTek vision is to reduce the cost of Information Technology (IT) deployment through cost effective solutions like the microwave radio and our desire is to proliferate broadband in Nigeria that will attract foreign investments, Spann said.