The National Broadband Council led by the Minister Of Communications Technology, Dr Omobola Johnson, have approved the building of fibre optic cable landing points in four coastal states to be funded by the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) which will assist in widespread diffusion of high capacity internet bandwidths around the country.
The Federal Government has planned to encourage telecommunication operators to establish cable landing points in Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River and Ondo States aside from Lagos State, which houses international submarine optic cables from Main One Cable Company, MTN’s West Africa Cable System (WACS), SAT 3 from the NITEL and Globacom’s Glo 1 cable.
Johnson hinted that the cable landing points will promote the rapid establishment of recovery and restoration agreements among the cable companies and delivery of additional landing points for national security and resilience purposes.
“Additional landing points in the country would not only reduce vulnerability and risks associated with a single point of failure but would make it faster and cheaper to lay terrestrial cable from these points to other parts of the country. The council called on the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the USPF to look into the possibility of providing financial incentives to accelerate this,” Johnson said.
The broadband council disclosed that progress has been made on the implementation of the broadband plan in the last 18 months, especially the increased capacity rolled out by telecom operators and other infrastructure providers which had resulted in a two per cent increase in broadband penetration in 2014.
According to the Minister of Communications Technology, government and telecom operators also reviewed the progress on the ministry’s Smart State Initiative aimed at getting concessions from state governments (right of way reductions, standardization on levies and charges on telco infrastructure). States yet to sign the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the initiative with the ministry were urged to do so to accelerate the pace of broadband infrastructure rollout within their states.
Bayelsa, Ondo, Katsina, the FCT, Lagos and Cross Rivers State are smart states while Anambra, Delta, Gombe and Osun states have agreed to become smart states. The council reiterated that the initiative geared at engaging authorities at the state and local government level to address the issue of multiple taxations which will accelerate the roll out of critical infrastructure across Nigeria and help Nigeria meet its broadband target of a five-fold increase by 2017.