Sub-regional telecoms infrastructure company, Phase3 Telecoms said it has started the deployment of aerial fiber optic infrastructure from Kano in Nigeria to Gazaoua in Niger Republic. The network, which will run from Kano State through Katsina State before arriving at Gazaoua will be 228 km long and is expected to be completed in the coming months.
Niger Republic is a landlocked country that borders seven countries; Algeria, Republic of Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Libya, Mali, and Nigeria. The lack of backbone infrastructure between Niger Republic and its neighbours makes the country to be unable to fully enjoy the broadband advantage to its fullest. With one of the lowest internet penetration rates in West Africa, Niger Republic will now have the opportunity to leverage on the huge bandwidth capacity which is available at the Nigerian coast in Lagos through the Phase3 telecom aerial fiber network. This development will also widen the market for under-sea cable owners in Nigeria while enhancing broadband development in Niger Republic.
This project will further enhance and solidify the objectives behind the Nigeria – Niger Joint Commission (NNJC) and the partnership between the two countries.
Speaking on the development, Minister of Communications Technology, Dr. (Mrs) Omobola Johnson said the project will help unlock the hidden potential of the sub-region.
She said: “Africa’s true economic potential will be harnessed by increasing the level of internet connectivity we currently have. This is one of the many ways to tap into the economic and social benefits Africa has the potential to deliver. The Ministry of Communication Technology and the Federal Government of Nigeria have worked very hard and closely with the Republic of Niger on integrating both countries under a single telecoms infrastructure and projects such as this will deliver the infrastructure to connect us to our neighbors and the rest of the world is the first step in the realisation of that vision.
“Establishing strong and sustainable partnerships across the sub-region will deliver benefits for us all. I am delighted that Phase3 Telecom has the capacity and is delivering a homegrown solution that will deliver significant long term value.”
According to her, the project is being facilitated by the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) through the extension of the Backbone Transmission Infrastructure Programme (BTRAIN) programme to Niger.
Chief Executive Officer, Phase3 Telecom, Mr. Stanley Jegede said the opportunities that the internet delivers are critical to the acceleration of sustainable socio-economic inclusion and growth for the Republic of Niger as this will open doors to new opportunities for residents to enjoy the benefits of the internet such as being able to work from the comforts of their home or study online. Businesses in this region will also be better positioned to use the internet to boost productivity, offer better service, connect with customers faster and work anywhere at reduced costs. Today, easier and reliable access to information from anywhere drives development thus; this deployment is part of our wider West Africa roll out plan to deliver regional connectivity through a single network across the region. It is a confirmation of our commitment to ensure that the digital divide diminishes, delivering connectivity to new urban and rural areas.
“I believe that this mile stone is a positive step towards sustainable economic development in West Africa. With the support we have received thus far from both the governments of the Republic of Niger and Nigeria; we are confident that this will mark the first phase in a long term partnership and we look forward to the dividends in the sub-region as a whole and in particular the Republic of Niger will benefit from the integration of this telecommunication infrastructure.”
This will also increase the existing power sharing infrastructure that is already in place between both countries. Phase3 telecom’s, aerial fibre is more reliable than its terrestrial equivalent, and with over 7000km of existing fiber infrastructure in Nigeria alone, Phase3 is ideally positioned to deliver a wider regional solution. The Phase3 Telecom fiber network is delivered through aerial deployment on high voltage transmission lines along Nigeria-Niger transmission pylons.