NCC CEO, Eugene Juwah
Experts in information technology have called on the Federal Government to invest in a national backbone infrastructure that will carry and distribute data capacity from the shores of the country to the hinterland.
Chief Executive Officer of Phase 3 Telecoms, Mr. Stanley Jegede, told THISDAY in an interview that a fully established national backbone infrastructure would boost capacity distribution of broadband and deepen internet penetration in the country.
According to him, Nigeria has a lot of broadband capacities from MainOne, Glo 1, and MTN’s West African Cable System (WACS) at the shores of the country, but without a long distance national backbone to carry and distribute the capacities to users in offices, schools, and homes in the hinterland.
According to him, “There is a serious need for government to subsidise the creation of a national broadband backbone network, this subsidy which is very similar to subsidy in America, Australia, and in the UK, will work towards effectively building critical infrastructure required to create a platform where costs associated in delivering the services to the consumers at the right price is determinable.”
Head, Sales, MainOne Cable Company, Mrs. Bolanle Ogundogba, who spoke with THISDAY in a separate interview, said MainOne and other submarine cable companies in the country were able to bring broadband capacities to the country, but that there must be a national backbone infrastructure to distribute the capacity to end users that are far away from the shores of the country, where the broadband submarine cables lay underutilised.
According to Ogundogba, “What is obtainable globally is that there are established carriers of subsea cables who carry capacity from long distant areas, through the subsea and land the cables at the shores of countries. In developed countries, there are standardised infrastructure that will carry the capacity from the shores and distribute to the hinterland, from where Internet Service Providers (ISPs) could tap into and provide connectivity to homes, offices, malls and several other places that need internet service.
The distribution channel to the hinterland is known as the national backbone infrastructure. But Nigeria lacks that channel, even though it has the capacity lying on the shores of the country, from MainOne, Glo1, and MTN WACS.”
Ogundogba who spoke at the launch of Oxygen Broadband in Lagos recently, said MainOne understood the lack of a national backbone infrastructure in the country, and decided to reinvent the wheels through innovation by using other means to do the distribution and carry capacity to hinterland. She said MainOne had to partner with other operators like Oxygen Broadband, by providing them with capacities to do the long distance wireless connectivity. “We also devised other means of distributing capacity to hinterland by building microwave radio backhaul link and terrestrial fibre known as the dry segment, and we are deploying them in some parts of Lagos, to facilitate internet service delivery and connectivity,” she said.
Oxygen Broadband provides wireless connectivity over long distance, using the Wireless Fidelity (WiFi) technology to provide hotspots in clustered areas, to enable people have internet access wirelessly.