By Rahmatullah Mahmud

The Federal Executive Council has approved the launch of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) dedicated to expanding the nation’s fibre optic network. This initiative, announced by Dr. Bosun Tijani, Minister for Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, aims to add 90,000km of fibre optic cable to the existing infrastructure, creating a robust national backbone for universal internet access.

The newly established SPV, designed following successful Public-Private Partnership models like the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), will oversee the expansion. This project will bring Nigeria’s total fibre optic coverage to 125,000km, making it the third longest terrestrial fibre optic backbone in Africa, trailing only Egypt and South Africa.

Dr. Tijani emphasized the strategic importance of this expansion, noting that Nigeria currently hosts eight submarine cables. The extended fibre network will optimize the use of these cables, driving data capacity usage beyond the current 10% and significantly enhancing internet connectivity across the nation.

The increased connectivity is expected to bridge the digital divide by connecting over 200,000 educational, healthcare, and social institutions. This will significantly boost internet penetration, aiming to surpass 70%, and reduce access costs by over 60%. Additionally, it will integrate at least 50% of the 33 million Nigerians currently without internet access.

The broader internet access is projected to have substantial economic benefits. The initiative is expected to contribute up to 1.5% growth per capita to Nigeria’s GDP, potentially increasing the GDP from $472.6 billion in 2022 to $502 billion within the next four years.

This development underscores the government’s commitment to leveraging technology for socio-economic growth. By enhancing digital infrastructure, Nigeria is set to foster innovation, inclusivity, and economic progress, ensuring a brighter digital future for its citizens

Categories: Technology Telecommunication

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