Galaxy Backbone Limited was uniquely built as a national resource to lead country-wide digital inclusion drive, according to the MD/CEO of the government parastatal, Prof. Muhammad Abubakar.
Abubakar, who presented the keynote speech at the 2020 EKO-KONNECT conference in Lagos recently, was represented by the General Manager, Customer Operations and Services at Galaxy Backbone, Mr. Frank Ugbodaga.
He said the recently signed joint venture agreement between Galaxy Backbone Limited and the Eko-Konnect Research and Education Initiative (Eko-Konnect), was a testimony to the robust backbone network the company has built to foster connectivity, research and education, which he said, remained critical elements of economic development.
Abubakar, whose keynote focused on ‘Development of ICT Infrastructure for National Education Research and Learning’, added that Galaxy Backbone was established to assist government pursue a coordinated and harmonised approach to information and communications technology acquisition, operation and use in the public sector.
“The collaboration is expected to boost reliable high-speed connectivity, access to research outputs, teaching, and learning materials for tertiary education in Nigeria. As a wholly-owned enterprise of the federal government, Galaxy Backbone will continue to leave up to its mandate by providing ICT infrastructure and services to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as tertiary institutions,” Abubakar said, adding that as the largest public sector backbone provider, the company is a giant in collaboration and aggregate partnerships for value addition and digital services which will support and help actualise the eight-pillars of the National Broadband Policy designed by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami.
According to Abubakar, “Galaxy Backbone Limited has robust infrastructure. Today, we account for 13 per cent of all fibre optic cables laid in Nigeria, which is around 37,000 kilometres.
“Therefore, Galaxy Backbone is positioned to support rapid development of ICT infrastructure for education, research and learning hence the partnership with Eko Konnect.
“GBB represents a ready-made backbone which the government and private organisations can leverage. We also represent the platform for linking national, regional and global research network and knowledge clusters. So, we are happy to be part of the arrangement.
“Galaxy Backbone has agreed to provide datacentre services and a fibre-optic cable transport network through which Eko-Konnect would interconnect campuses and provide a number of, ‘above the net’ scholarly communication services including a real-time collaboration platform, trust and identity framework, develop relevant cloud services and pilot a shared research product repository.”
Abubakar, revealed that in the first project commencing immediately, the joint venture would establish technology hubs in Enugu and Awka, interconnect nearby institutions in Eastern Nigeria to peers in the Lagos area and environs, and counterparts in the global research network through the West and Central Research and Education Network (WACREN).
Chairman, Eko-Konnect Board of Trustees, Prof. Charles Uwadia, welcomed the collaboration saying “This development gives the much-needed impetus to the several initiatives providing services for research and education communities in Nigeria.”
Eko-Konnect is a community-driven initiative which promotes the establishment of research clusters in geo-political regions of Nigeria, interconnected via a backbone to provide the high-speed networks that are essential for sharing, accessing and processing the high data volumes generated by research and education communities, Uwadia said.