Monday, February 2, 2009

The international submarine communication cable has finally docked in Lagos, Nigeria. Built by Alcatel but financed by Globacom, a leading telecommunications service provider in Nigeria, the cable spans 9200km, came from Portugal and passes through 15 countries to reach Nigeria's financial and commercial capital. Once launched, it will increase the quality and number of internet services for Globacom's customers. Already, a Nigerian company owned by billionaire Dangote, Alheri, is putting up fibre optic cable lines all over the country to provide the faster internet capabilities to homes and offices. It seems that Nigeria's internet future is at the doorstep.

As of March 2008, only 7.2%/ (10 million) of Nigerians used the internet. This number will explode once the underwater cable is fully launched and once it is extended to Bonny. The cable will allow for faster and cheaper internet access. That will, in turn, make access to the world wide web easier for information hungry Nigerians who already use the internet as a means of escaping their daily lives, communicating with friends and family, and learning about the world around them. By implication, information, which is a highly guarded tool, the dissemination of which has led to journalist and bloggers being arrested, would become more easily available as Nigerians demand and provide information on the issues of import to them.

The possibilities that await in Nigeria's future are endless. Consider the India example. The arrival of the underwater cable to India was arguably a crucial factor in transforming India into a leader in the outsourced services market. That reality brought not just jobs to the country, but investment, and accelerated the country's IT field. Now, Nigeria might not necessarily experience a growth in its IT sector or become a leader in the outsourced services market, but the underwater cable could provide a better outlet for indigenous industries such as Nollywood and the thriving Nigerian music scene. There would also bring more competition for local producers, forcing them to improve their products, which would be hard to deal with, but in a capitalist society, efficiency is crucial and the consumer will benefit.

Ultimately, it will be up to Nigerians to take advantage of this advancement in internet capacity. The possibilities are endless.

Please read Deborah Nason's article on Nigeria's internet story here.
Also, check out Internet World Statistic's information on internet usage in Nigeria. The information goes back to 2006.
For more information on Telecommunications in Nigeria and Africa, visit International Telecommunication Union.

Related Articles of Interest:
- Nigeria is Not The Home Of Cyber Crime
- Nigeria's Internet Future
- Number One Regional Telecom Market
- 2009: The Year of African Broadband
- Nigeria Is Home To The World's Largest Cyber Cafe
- Dangote: Welcome To The Billionaire Boys Club
- Who Will Develop Nigeria?
- Who Will Develop Nigeria Pt. 2

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22 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

Femi B said...

Wow, Im intrigued...cos men when i was home internet availability was just quite useless and slow. I felt like crashing the screen all the time


@ Femi B: Good to see you and again, I am thankful that your dad id getting better.

May I ask where you were in Nigeria for hols and do you know who the service provider was? I'll send you a message.

Hope all is well!

Anonymous said...

We welcome this news. This will hopely ignite a boom in Nigeria's Internet economy, with more users comes more revenues for Nigerian Internet sites. look at china for instance, they got hundreds of millions in vc funds from Europe and the US

The Activist said...

This is nice and I hope this will be readily available in rural areas cuz I wan to relocate from Lagos, really

N.I.M.M.O said...

I always like your cautious optimism to issues Nigerian (except maybe UMYAwn's performance index) but in this case I think Nigeria is actually doing much better than is being reported.

As for the Internet penetration in Nigeria, I think the focus of the world had been too much on the negative stuff -419 and the like - rather than on the tremendous growth taking place in the ICT industry in the past decade.

Case in point, the Glo Submarine cable is actually the second in Nigeria, we have had SAT-3 connection for over five years now. A third cable by Main One is expected to be completed by Q4 2010. These are indigenous companies.

The nationwide fiber optics cables being managed by Alheri and Phase3 have actually been laid -but not completed- so many years ago by NEPA (now PHCN).

Ironically, the only thing holding back Nigeria's ICT development right now is power - electrical power.

WHEN we eventually get that right, then we will have arrived. Let's hope it happens before 2011.

NneomaMD said...

i agree this is pretty exciting news....thanks for sharing....

naijagal said...

exciting news! can't wait to see the outcome maybe now Nigeria will be an outsourcing mecca just like India

The possibilities are endless

jobs will be plentiful like this one

Anonymous said...

I haven't read yet, but I just wanted to mention that I love this topic..

Anonymous said...

don't want to sound cynical -- but hopefully this will not just translate to an upsurge in yahoo yahoo arrangements.....

Jinta said...

unfortunately i'm a bit pessimistic about the prospects because of the massive corruption that goes on in nigeria

io said...

hopefully people wont see this little improvement as a way to better refine their ilegal internet activity.

Femi B said...

well the slowest of all that i used was Visaphone. ANd i was in Ibadan and in Lagos. WHile in Lagos it wasnt that ridiculous though, but it was still slow.

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to this and positive change and development in Nigeria. And also, anticipating standards from ALHERI. Thanks for the info.
How do you do?

Anonymous said...

a Nigerian company owned by billionaire Dangote, Alheri, is putting up fibre optic cable lines all over the country to provide the faster internet capabilities to homes and offices in the words of another billionaire "when children are dying all over the world faster Internet access seemed besides the point", that one has now given up his day job to focus on world charity, another huge business.

Meanwhile, back home, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Millennium Development Goals(MDGs)job title to die for, Hajia Amina Ibrahim confirmed over 70 percent of Nigerians live below poverty level. So might we inquire who the additional bandwidth is meant for? Of course it is about progress but without the customers, what are the chances for the maintenance or ROI?

Anya Posh said...

wow...these are all great improvements but if there's no light (constant electricity) how can people even enjoy this internet service?

Shawndavinci said...

This is good news but its good news only for a sector of the Nigerian populace. The market women of Oja Oba, Ilorin and their hungry children who crawl on the streets, will be wondering if you are speaking spanish if you inform them that our IT capacity is about to explode. The almajiris of Sokoto couldn't care less, unless you tell them that the fibre optic cables are wiring cash straight to their begging pans.
And to butress the point others have made, no point in having faster internet if you dont have light to charge your phones and laptops.

I am always happy to hear about progress in Nigeria but am concerned about the levels of poverty and corruption. It is my prayer that somehow the coming of these improvements in our IT sector will set off a chain reaction that will eventually bring down the twin giants of poverty and corruption in Nigeria.....somehow

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