Worries over concentration of ICT infrastructure in Lagos
It is an unquestionable fact that most information and communications technology infrastructure are located in Lagos which also happens to be headquarters for most operators in that space.
The position of Lagos as the nation’s commercial nerve centre may have led to this scenario as most businesses and multinational companies have their operational headquarters in the town.
To this end, accounts for why most ICT infrastructure are located in Lagos at a cost to quality of service and provision of some services only in Lagos and Abuja where such infrastructure is located.
Nigeria Communications Week investigations revealed that, there is no commercial data centre infrastructure in any other town outside of Lagos as well as interconnect circuits’ infrastructure.
The implication of this for voice service according to Ike Nnamani, chief executive officer, Medallion Communications, a telecommunications voice clearing house operator is that across network calls which pass through interconnect infrastructure are meant to travel a long distance before its termination point even when the termination point is few miles away from the originating point.
“The situation now is that if a subscriber in Enugu wants to call another person in the same environ on another network, that call will have to travel to Lagos where the interconnect circuit is located before coming back to Enugu again, in this process the quality of such call will be affected by issues on the switches and microwave links along this process.
But, if the interconnect circuit is located in Kaduna or closer to Kaduna, there is no need for such travel there by reducing interference and improve call quality and cost for the operator which are in turn passed to the subscribers,” he said.
On the data centre space, Mohammed Rudman, managing director, Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN), decries frustrations faced by universities outside of Lagos that have digital content to host at data centres which are only available in Lagos.
“Absence of commercial data centres close to some universities and organizations outside of Lagos that have digital content have forced them to host such content outside of the country because of high cost of connectivity to data centres in Lagos.
“The implication of this scenario is that since it is far cheaper for them to get connected to the internet than data centres in Nigeria they prefer to host their servers out of the country which requires only connectivity to the internet, thereby endangering the survival of data centres as well as federal government efforts to encourage local hosting aimed at keeping local internet traffic local,” he said.
Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, chairman, Association Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) said that decentralization of interconnect circuits are necessary where calls are linked through microwave or satellite technology.
“Presently, most long distance calls are routed through fibre optic backbone links which travels at the speed of light and does not have quality of service issues or high cost in transmission, except where there is a problem on the fibre link that calls are links via microwave.