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‘Nigeria needs to speed up NBP as services move online post-pandemic’

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Ayotunde Coker


The Federal Government has been advised to speed up the implementation of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) 2020 to 2025, as more services will go online post COVID-19 period.

While a 70 per cent target has been set, the need for faster implementation became necessary because of the upsurge in Internet traffic as witnessed during the sit-at-home season, which would likely become the order of the day post pandemic.

In a webinar interaction with journalists in Lagos, including The Guardian, the Chief Executive Officer of Rack Centre, Ayotunde Coker, said a new norm will emerge after the pandemic must have been over.

Coker said the world becomes digitally connected on the information super-highway, which will see data centre and cloud technologies move to the edge.He advised government and organisations to prepare for the era that would bring about a new norm in governance and organisational operations. He stressed that companies must step up by adding connectivity capacities to scale up their infrastructure build out.

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The Rack Centre boss said there must be huge investment in infrastructure including power, roads, technology, among others to meet the demands that will spring up from the pandemic fallout.

Preparations from Coker’s point of view, include that government quickly device means to transmit the broadband capacities at the shores of the country to the hinterlands to enable more Nigerians have access to ubiquitous broadband in readiness for the technology innovations in the post-COVID-19 era.

The Rack Centre boss said collaboration among fibre optic cable system providers on one hand and between fiber optic cable providers and satellite providers on the other hand, in order to drive tech innovations in post-COVID-19 era.

According to him, in the post-COVID-19 era, activities would shift towards online and Internet traffic would grow, with many people working from home, once they are connected to broadband Internet.

He explained that during the post-COVID-19 era, semi-flex office staff location will spring up, where new offices will be created close to workers’ residences, which will see them travel only few kilometres to access the place, and work from there as a virtual team, while connecting to the office.

The Rack Centre boss equally said that virtual edutech will spring up, where students will be studying from their homes and getting connected to the school remotely through connected devices like laptops, iPads and mobile phones.

Furthermore, he said there will be high definition video and Augmented Reality (AR), which will aid healthcare delivery, where medical doctors will attend to people in remote and far places to carryout quick medical consultations.

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The new normal, he said will enable governments at all levels and organisations hold meetings through digital conferences like video conference and teleconference, and documents signed digitally after each virtual meeting.

Going forward, Coker explained that Blockchain technology would reach a new height of acceptability and use, while Internet exchange volume would grow significantly and workers would be digitally connected to the super highway and data centre, with cloud technologies moving to the edge, closer to the point of use.

According to him, global supply chain would change and African countries would benefit more from it. Speaking on the operations of his firm, Coker disclosed that Rack Centre had since doubled its capacity and had put infrastructure in place that would help organisations host their data locally to have access to their data from a remote location, without physically appearing at the data centre, a situation, he said, would boost efficiency and reduce costs of operation.

He said the innovation from Rack Centre has helped it to engage and have connections to over 35 of its major carriers and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Nigeria, Tier 1 networks, pan African international carriers, and direct connection to all five undersea cables serving the South Atlantic Coast of Africa, and that every country on the Atlantic coast of Africa is directly connected to Rack Centre. He claimed that despite the lockdown, Rack Centre business is still up and running.

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