By Emma Okonji

MainOne has disclosed fresh plans to commit a whopping N25 billion to its Lagos broadband infrastructure project.

The initiative was designed to digitise Lagos, through the deployment of 2000 kilometre fibre optic broadband cable that would drive connectivity around all the Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state.

The project, which is billed to commence this year, would be completed within a period of three years, according to MainOne.

The Chief Executive Officer of MainOne, Funke Opeke, who made the disclosure at a media briefing in Lagos on Tuesday, said the planned Lagos Metro Network Connectivity project would boost internet connectivity across the entire Lagos, enhance job creation, and help build the Smart Lagos City.

The project was expected to complement MainOne’s existing 700-kilometre network in Lagos that already covers major population centres and Yaba, where it provides connectivity for businesses and has connected startups like Andela, ccHub, Paga, and Flutterwave and others that have raised up to $500 million Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Nigeria.

According to Opeke, MainOne’s ambitions for Lagos was inspired by the vision of Lagos Governor-elect, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who noted presciently that “Technology will improve the rule of law, education, ease of doing business and government processes of Lagos.”

MainOne is keen to collaborate with the Lagos State government and all other relevant stakeholders to build Digital Lagos and help citizens from all walks of life realise the benefits of broad, sustainable economic growth, modernised education, health, and other services delivery, and improved quality of life, Opeke said.

“MainOne is pleased to have the opportunity to present its plan for Digital Lagos, a proven path to ubiquitous broadband connectivity. This plan will involve the investment by MainOne of over N25 billion over the next 2-3 years to develop critical fiber optic infrastructure to enable broadband services across Lagos state,” she said.

Opeke said MainOne pioneered investments in critical internet-enabling infrastructure across West Africa, Nigeria, and Lagos. To date, the company has invested over N120 billion funded by leading African banks and has proven its capabilities in expanding and densifying localised fiber networks in neighboring Ogun and Edo States by deploying almost 1,000kms of fiber in partnership with Facebook to expand broadband access and connect government institutions and other areas of interest, she said, adding that as the licenced InfraCo for Lagos zone, the resulting network to be built by MainOne will provide essential connectivity to critical state institutions, cover over 300 government agencies, up to 10,000 state CCTV locations, telecom operators and Internet Service Providers (ISPs), public Wi-Fi hotspots, Smart City components / Internet of Things (IOT) devices, in addition to enterprises.

The Chief Executive Officer, Hipconsult, Judah Levine, who is the consultant working with MainOne on the project, in his presentation, said in every 1km fibre coverage, MainOne would be able to provide broadband connectivity to 10.8 million people and that in 5km fibre coverage, over 12.5 million would be connected in Lagos.

Speaking on the far-reaching impact of the Digital Lagos project, Levine said it would transform a wide variety of sectors and development initiatives from government to education and to health, thus providing connectivity to schools, and hospitals in Lagos. “Apart from education and health, the project will enhance e-Governance, financial inclusion, innovation with start-ups, security and job creation,” Levine added.

Citing available statistics on the contribution of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to job creation, which is put at 2.5 million created jobs over a period of 10 years, from 2004 to 2014, Levine said the economic impact of the Digital Lagos project in the area of job creation and GDP, would be enormous.