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Operators want governors to emulate Ekiti RoW charges

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While commending the Ekiti State Governor, and the Chairman of Governors Forum, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, for slashing Right of Way (RoW) charges from ₦4,500 to ₦145 per linear meter for broadband infrastructure, telecoms operators have beckoned on other governors in Nigeria, to follow suit.
     
Fayemi, yesterday, through his Twitter handle, @kfayemi and @ekitistategov, announced that to make Ekiti State the knowledge and innovation capital of Nigeria, “I have signed an Executive Order reducing the Row charges related to laying of any broadband or other telecommunications infrastructures from ₦4500 to ₦145 per meter.”
    
The Governor said Ekiti is the first to comply with the NEC approved RoW charges for broadband in Nigeria, thus becoming the cheapest state for broadband infrastructure investment as 1km of cable will now cost ₦145,000 as against ₦4.5million previously.

    
Accordingly, operators, under the aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), expressed pleasure over Fayemi’s exemplary leadership.
    
The Chairman of ALTON, Gbenga Adebayo, in a chat with The Guardian, said the development will be major progress towards broadband penetration and the fully digital economy.
   
He explained that operators will be able to deploy a robust fibre network within Ekiti State, and will soon become a smart city with all the associated benefits for socio-economic development.
   
“We are very pleased and thank Governor of Ekiti State. We hope other Excellencies will follow his steps. There is a need to consider the long term benefits of a digital economy that the immediate short term IGR benefits,” Adebayo said.
    
In a related development, global and African Partners have announced, 2Africa, a transformative subsea cable for future Internet connectivity in Africa, and one of the largest in the world, connecting 23 countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe
  
2Africa is a partnership project among China Mobile International, Facebook, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, stc, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone and WIOCC. It will be a comprehensive subsea cable to serve the African continent and the Middle East region.
   
The parties have appointed Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), to build the cable in a fully-funded project, which will greatly enhance connectivity across Africa and the Middle East.
   
At 37,000km long, 2Africa will be one of the world’s largest subsea cable projects and will interconnect Europe (eastward via Egypt), the Middle East (via Saudi Arabia), and 21 landings in 16 countries in Africa.

The system is expected to go live in 2023/4, delivering more than the total combined capacity of all subsea cables serving Africa today, with a design capacity of up to 180Tbps on key parts of the system.

2Africa will deliver much-needed internet capacity and reliability across large parts of Africa, supplement the fast-growing capacity demand in the Middle East and underpin the further growth of 4G, 5G and fixed broadband access for hundreds of millions of people.
   
In countries where the 2Africa cable will land, service providers will obtain capacity in carrier-neutral data centres or open-access cable landing stations on a fair and equitable basis. This will support healthy internet ecosystem development by facilitating greatly improved accessibility for businesses and consumers alike.
       
According to Chief Executive Officer, MTN Group’s wholesale operation, MTN GlobalConnect, Frédéric Schepens, “MTN GlobalConnect is delighted to participate in this bold 2Africa subsea cable project. This initiative complements MTN GlobalConnect’s terrestrial fibre strategy to connect African countries to each other and to the rest of the world. We are proud to be playing a key role in providing the benefits of modern connected life – a core MTN belief.”
   
Also, CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa, Alioune Ndiaye, said, “As one of the world’s leading multi-service telecommunications operators and present in 18 countries in Africa and the Middle East, it was natural for Orange to be part of the 2Africa project. This major investment will complete our existing submarine and pan-African terrestrial infrastructures to provide access to international connectivity in a redundant fashion throughout the west coast of Africa. It will enable Orange to securely meet the demand for increased bandwidth necessary for the continued digital development of regions throughout the 2Africa system.”


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