FG Okays SPV For 90,000km Fibre Optic Cable

FG Okays SPV For 90,000km Fibre Optic Cable
Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani

 

The Federal Government on Tuesday approved a special purpose vehicle to support the delivery of an additional 90,000km of fibre optic cable for universal access to the internet across Nigeria.

An SPV is a separate legal entity created to achieve a specific goal or project. In this context, the SPV will manage the fibre optics project, overseeing its implementation, finances, and operations.

The Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, said in a statement Tuesday that the project would strengthen the national backbone for internet access and optimise the use of eight submarine cables already landed in Nigeria.

The project, he said, was expected to increase Nigeria’s fibre optic cable capacity from 35,000 kilometres to 125,000 km, making it Africa’s third-longest terrestrial fibre optic backbone behind South Africa and Egypt.

Tijani noted that the ministry had, over the last few months, began the groundwork to set up the SPV, which would be modelled in governance and operations similar to some of the best public-private partnership setups in Nigeria, such as NIBSS and NLNG.

The minister explained, “This extensive coverage will enable us to optimise the unique benefit of having eight submarine cables already landed in Nigeria and, therefore, drive uptake of the data capacity that the cables offer beyond the current usage level of 10 per cent.

“Building on our existing work with the Broadband Alliance, this increased connectivity will help plug the current non-consumption gap by connecting over 200,000 educational, healthcare and social institutions across Nigeria, ensuring that a larger section of our society can be included in the benefits of internet connectivity.”

According to Tijani, the project will also ensure the inclusion of, at least, 50 per cent of the 33 million Nigerians currently excluded from access to the Internet.

He added that the project was expected to have a significant impact on the country’s economy, with projected gross domestic product growth of up to 1.5 per cent per capita, raising GDP from $472.6bn in 2022 to $502bn over the next four years.

Last week, Groupe Special Mobile Association revealed in a report that about 71 per cent of Nigerians do not have regular access to mobile internet.

It was noted that Nigeria could add 15 million Internet users by 2028 with the right policy in place, adding that a broader digital transformation of the Nigerian economy was not possible without universal access to digital connectivity.

The report stated, “While 29 per cent of Nigerians are regularly using mobile internet, there remains untapped potential; 71 per cent are not accessing these services regularly.

“An improved policy environment has the potential to help the industry boost coverage and adoption, resulting in 15 million additional internet users by 2028. However, the sector faces challenges to infrastructure deployment”.

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