The continuous increase in the cost of bandwidth and the attendant low penetration of broadband across the country have become source of worry to Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry operators.
Nigerians had in recent times, witnessed the landing of several submarine cables on the shores of the country, which include Main One, Glo 1, MTN's West African Cable System (WACS), among others, yet the expectation that the avalanche of sub-sea cables will drive down cost of bandwidth and deepen broadband rollout, is far from reality as Nigerians still groan under high cost of bandwidth.
Chief Executive Officer of Main One Cable System, Mrs. Funke Opeke, who blamed the challenges on the absence of a national backbone for the country, called for the establishment of a national carrier that would play the role of the moribund Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL).
Opeke who spoke at recent stakeholders' forum organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in Lagos, said the absence of a national backbone was responsible for the high cost of bandwidth and the slow penetration of broadband across the country.
According to her, lack of national backbone infrastructure on an open-access basis, remained the major problem of transportation of capacity within Nigeria.
She said: "Providing broadband connectivity from Lagos to Port Harcourt or from Lagos to Kaduna was more expensive than connecting Nigeria to London, because there are insufficient fibre network to the Nigerian cities.
NITEL was supposed to be a national carrier, licensed to provide capacities through its national backbone, but because NITEL has become incapacitated, it cannot provide such service for the country, a situation that is adversely affecting broadband penetration in the country.
Addressing the issue low broadband penetration, Corporate Services Executive for MTN, Mr. Wale Goodluck in an interview with THISDAY, said "to provide the quality of broadband that will take Nigeria into the future, vital areas such as fibre availability, rights of way, and the protection of telecoms facilities, must be adequately addressed."
According to him, "Nigeria needs enough fibre cables, and government must speed up approval of rights of way for the installation of telecom facilities, while providing adequate protection for all installed telecoms facilities."
Opeke noted that in developed economies, the national backbone provided long distance services and carried broadband traffic from sea shores to hinterlands, from where it would supply capacities to access providers that are smaller operators.
"Through the process, access providers could hook on to the national carrier from various locations in the country at a cheaper rate, and provide broadband connectivity to end-users at affordable cost with high speed and reliability," she added.
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