The protracted delay in the approval of Nigeria’s national broadband policy has been described as a major threat to the nation’s massive investment in fibre optics, valued at exceeding $1 billion.
For example, the Glo submarine cable is valued at US$700 million while the Main One fibre optic cable has a value of $300 million. Both landed on the coast of Lagos in 2010, but the nation is yet to enjoy the benefit of these cables in data and voice services.
This is further complicated by the recent dip in the quality of telecoms services, a situation that compelled the regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), to fine the affected operators and ban promos.
Usen Udoh, Senior Director of Management Consulting at Accenture Nigeria, said in an interview with This Day that the cables are still at the coast laying unused because the required broadband policy, which will bring the cables into the hinterlands, is still unavailable.
“It is that broadband policy that would then be able to expand or ensure access into the hinterlands and then bring huge bandwidth that is on our coast to the hinterlands. Without that last mile connection, it is like somebody who just brought a huge pot of soup and put it in front of your house and there are no plates to go there and serve the food and bring them in,” he said.
The inability of the nation’s stakeholders to make available the national broadband policy that will drive bandwidth to rural areas he said is wasting peoples’ creativity.
He added: “Someone has to make the investment in putting in the infrastructure. So when you’ve got all those huge bandwidth that is sitting on the coast, how do you get it in; it is either you build broadband highways into the hinterlands; put fibre optic cables into the ground or use Wimax connections into the hinterlands. But someone has to pay for it. Someone has to make that investment and frankly, there’s no incentive to make the investment.”