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Internet expansion slows as nine terabyte bandwidths capacity suffers underutilisation

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Nationwide Internet connections in Nigeria may be hampered any time soon.

This follows the underutilsation of over nine-terabyte bandwidth capacity, which currently lie at the seashore.

Though, the recent subscription statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) put the number of Internet users in the country at 107 million, The Guardian investigations showed that many communities in the country are still without connectivity.

There are still over 190 access gaps in Nigeria, with over 40 million of the populations affected.

Again, the challenge put up by the operators’ remains the lack of last mile infrastructure that would aid transmission of bandwidth facility from the shores to the city, and subsequently the hinterland.

Operators have also been battling Right of Way (RoW) challenges, with states and their agencies charging as much as N8, 000 per meter, as against the Federal Government’s agreed N145 per meter.

According to Head, Regulatory Service, MainOne, Ifeloju Alakija, there are five submarine cable systems at the shores of Nigeria, with all having direct connections to all major West African markets.

These cables include MainOne, Glo 1, WACS, ACE and SAT 1.

Alakija, who decried the underutilisation of these facilities, disclosed that out of the $20 billion investments that had gone into submarine cable system in Africa, Nigeria could lay claims to having $7 billion of the investments.

He said the international capacity challenge has largely been solved, but domestic capacity remains a challenge.

He stressed that this challenge has hampered so many things, including deepening 4G in the country.

The regulatory chief added that 4G network is still narrow in Nigeria, with less than 20 per cent of its population having access to it.

Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umaru Danbatta, who said telecommunications remain a cardinal tool for economic growth, also expressed concern at the underutilsation of these bandwidth capacities.

Danbatta, who called for improved content creation to drive usage, said: “Nigeria has nine Terabytes of bandwidth capacity at the shores of Lagos. There is a challenge of driving its expansion.

A telecoms expert, Kehinde Aluko, blamed the low utilisation on the poor implementation of the Nigeria Broadband Plan (NBP) 2013 to 2018.

Speaking to The Guardian, President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Olusola Teniola, said there was a serious glut in the supply of bandwidth on the wet segment of the optic fibre ecosystem in the country.


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