Broadband access is key to economic growth and development. Governments worldwide are investing in their national communication infrastructures. Nigeria, already showing massive economic growth, making it one of the strongest countries in Africa, wants to accelerate even further. The Nigerian Government has introduced a National Broadband Plan to increase the broadband diffusion in the country. The ultimate objective is to have a positive impact on economic growth and establish itself as one of the strongest countries of the continent.
Nigeria had a respectable number of submarine cable landings on the shores of the country providing over 9 Tbit/s of combined capacity. However there is concern that all the landings are in Lagos and access to other parts of the country is choked due to the limitations of distribution infrastructure to the rest of the country.
In the first year of executing the National Broadband Plan there has been a 2% increase of the broadband diffusion level in the huge country. Also, four new hubs for submarine cables will be, or have been, built in the coastal zones of Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River and Ondo. These new hubs will help reduce network vulnerability and risks. Laying land cables to other zones of the country will be more rapid and more economical.
The new network extends to 60 cities, including Lagos, the capital, and other cities in the north and the center of the country. The companies MainOne and IHS have been given the task of strengthening broadband services. MainOne will focus on the area of Lagos, where 12% of the Nigerian population and 60% of the company value are centered. IHS will work in the center and north of the country, paying particular attention to rural areas where the current broadband services are virtually non-existent.
The Nigerian government expects the project to have a significant socioeconomic impact, by digitizing the country’s economy and stimulating growth (resulting in new tax revenues), by improving telephone services in non-urban areas and making the urban areas more smart and modern.