Council approves four fibre optic landing points

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

Nigeria’s National Broadband Council has approved the building of optic fibre cable (OFC) landing points in four coastal states to be funded by the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) which will assist in widespread diffusion of high capacity internet bandwidth around the country.

The Council is headed by ComTech Minister, Dr (Mrs.) Omobola Johnson who said the cable landing points will promote the rapid establishment of recovery and restoration agreements among the cable companies and delivery of additional landing points for national security and resilience purposes.

The Federal Government has planned to encourage telecommunication operators to establish cable landing points in Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River and Ondo states aside Lagos State which houses international submarine optic cables from MainOne, MTN’s West Africa Cable System (WACS), SAT 3 from former state-run but now privatized telco, NITEL and Globacom’s Glo 1 cable.

She said: “Additional landing points in the country would not only reduce vulnerability and risks associated with a single point of failure but would make it faster and cheaper to lay terrestrial cable from these points to other parts of the country. The council called on the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the USPF to look into the possibility of providing financial incentives to accelerate this.”

The Council said progress has been made on the implementation of the National Broadband Plan in the last 18 months, especially the increased capacity rolled out by carriers and other infrastructure providers which had resulted in a two per cent increase in broadband penetration last year.

Dr Johnson said the government and telecom operators also reviewed the progress on the ministry’s Smart State Initiative aimed at getting concessions from state governments (right of way reductions, standardisation on levies and charges on telco infrastructure). States yet to sign the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the initiative with the ministry were urged to do so to accelerate the pace of broadband infrastructure rollout within their states.

Bayelsa, Ondo, Katsina, the FCT, Lagos and Cross Rivers State are Smart States while Anambra, Delta, Gombe and Osun states have agreed to become smart states. The council reiterated that the initiative geared at engaging authorities at the state and local government level to address the issue of multiple taxations which will accelerate the roll out of critical infrastructure across Nigeria and help Nigeria meet its broadband target of a five-fold increase by 2017.

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