By Bennett Oghifo
The United States Trade and Development Agency, USTDA has awarded grants worth over $2 million to two indigenous ICT companies for feasibility studies towards implementation of fiber to the premises (FTTx) projects in Nigeria’s telecommunications sector.
A statement by officials said this is in keeping with its promise of continued support towards empowerment of local firms to enable them provide homegrown solutions to Nigeria’s development challenges, In her remarks at a virtual signing ceremony hosted by the US Mission in Nigeria last week, U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard said the aim of the grants was to create improved broadband internet access by adding half a million homes to networks reached by fiber optic cables. The Ambassador said the projects demonstrated the commitment of the U.S. Mission towards supporting local solutions to infrastructure challenges.
One of the recipients of the USTDA grants, Aldreda Fields Ltd said it was a great honor to be selected to deploy an Aerial, Open-Access Fiber Network which could potentially transform
the business landscape for thousands of Micro, Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises, MSMEs.
Speaking during the virtual ceremony, the Managing Director of Aldreda Fields, Mr. Adebisi Adebutu said it was quite surreal that a dream which was born out of a burning desire to improve broadband penetration in Nigeria had flourished to become an unquestionable reality. Accepting the grant, Mr. Adebutu said there was an inseparable link between the development of core physical ICT Infrastructure and the pace of Nigeria’s technological and economic advancement in particular, and sub-Saharan Africa as a whole.
He said the fiber network would provide Nigeria with infrastructure that would deliver broadband internet speeds to rival what was obtainable in advanced countries around the world.
The USTDA grant will provide funding to conduct a feasibility study to help Aldreda Fields develop aerially installed open-access networks to connect multiple neighbourhoods across
Lagos to broadband infrastructure. In order to carry put the project Aldreda Fields has secured exclusive rights from Eko Electricity Distribution Company, EKEDC to utilise her existing electricity distribution network infrastructure to deploy its aerial fiber network.
The feasibility study will be performed by S2 Associates International LLC, a US Technology firm based in New Jersey. In a statement, S2 Associates President, Samia Bahsoun said S2
Associates International was grateful for the opportunity to accompany Aldreda Fields in the mission of bridging the economic and digital divide by bringing affordable fiber optics broadband connectivity closer to every Nigerian household.
Aldreda Fields will be utilising the latest US Technology powered by Calix Gigabit Passive Optical Network (PON) in the operation of the open access network.