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Google’s subsea cable, Broadband penetration and digital transformation of Nigerian economy

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State (middle); Chris Wood, CEO of WIOCC, and Mrs. Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, Director of Google West Africa at the Event Marking Equiano Cable Landing in Lagos

*Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State declares ‘we are seeing an unprecedented inflow of investments into every part of Lagos, from local and foreign investors’

*Equiano subsea cable systems expected to deliver up to 20 times faster Internet speeds to significantly improve consumer experience in Nigeria and across Africa, says Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, Director of Google West Africa

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

Sequel to the recent landing of the promising Google’s Equiano subsea cable systems in Lagos, the commercial hub of Nigeria, there is a projection of about $10billion additional earnings to the West African country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

ConsumerConnect reports Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, speaking as Special Guest of Honour at the Digital Launch and Reception to mark the historic landing of the Equiano sea cable Thursday, April 21, 2022, in the state said, “there is much to be excited about, at a time like this in the unfolding history of Lagos State and of Nigeria.”

The cable, named after Olaudah Equiano, Nigerian-born writer and abolitionist who was enslaved as a boy, connects Africa with Europe.

Governor Sanwo-Olu 

In connection with the high network capacity of the new Broadband infrastructure         vis-à-vis application of education and technology for enhanced socio-economic development as encapsulated in his adminitration’s T.H.E.M.E.S development agenda, Governor Sanwo-Olu stated: “We are seeing an unprecedented inflow of investments into every part of Lagos, from local and foreign investors who understand the immense business and commercial potential that the state symbolises.”

READ ALSO: Stakeholders, Broadband Access Critical To Effective 5G Deployment, National Development

Google’s Director on the occasion also disclosed that “with Equiano, we look forward to being an even more integral part of the digital transformation journey in Nigeria.”

Google’s Subsea Cable Route

Google’s subsea cable runs from Portugal along Africa’s west coast, and will reach South Africa, with branching units along the way that can be used to extend connectivity to additional African countries.

Google, a global technology giant or Big Tech, further noted that the sea cable systems would deliver 20 times as much network capacity as any of the existing systems serving Nigeria.

According to technology experts, this development suggests much faster Internet speeds, reduced cost, and greater access for Nigerian consumers.

RELATED: NCC Urges Stakeholders To Activate Digital Economy For Diversification, Transformation

They noted the net effect of this are much-needed jobs, economic growth and development in the country.

Nigeria is sub-Saharan Africa’s largest economy ─Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, Google W/Africa Director

In her address at the event Thursday, in Lagos, Mrs. Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, Google’s West Africa Director, said: “Nigeria is sub-Saharan Africa’s largest economy.

“Still, the share of people using the Internet stood at approximately 35 percent as of 2020 – double what it was in 2012.

“Across much of the country, people lack affordable, reliable and quality access, which limits their ability to benefit from, and contribute to, the digital economy.”

Ehimuan-Chiazor also stated: “Landing this cable comes as part of critical stages leading up to its deployment later this year, and it is expected to deliver up to 20 times more capacity than the region’s prior cables.

Economic value of digital infrastructure

“A recent economic impact assessment conducted by Africa Practice and Genesis Analytics states that Equiano’s arrival in Nigeria is expected to result in faster Internet speeds and significantly improve people’s experiences while online.”

READ ALSO: NCC Activating Strategic Plan For Broadband Infrastructure, All-Inclusive Digital Economy ─Danbatta

The Google West Africa Director further noted: “Internet speeds in Nigeria are expected to grow almost sixfold by 2025, and retail Internet prices are forecasted to decline by 21 percent over the same period.

“The same study found that by 2025, real GDP in Nigeria is forecast to be USD 10.1 billion higher than it otherwise would have been without Equiano and that the cable would indirectly generate roughly 1.6 million new jobs between 2022 and 2025.”

Engr. Ubale Maska, Executive Commissioner, Technical Services at NCC and Mrs. Ehimuan-Chiazor on NCC-Google partnership to activate Nigeria’s digital transformation policy

In the same vein, Chris Wood, Chief Executive Officer of WIOCC, on the occasion said: “We are proud to have been selected by Google as the landing partner for the Equiano cable in Nigeria, landing the cable directly into the OADC Lagos data centre.

“From there it will be extended to other data centres across Lagos.

“The Equiano cable will deliver improved internet quality, speeds and affordability to the people of Nigeria.”

Wood also stated: “However, for the benefits to be fully felt throughout Nigeria, hyperscale connectivity needs to be extended from the Lagos area to the rest of the country.

“To make this happen, WIOCC is also deploying a comprehensive, hyperscale national fibre network, in partnership with Phase3 telecom.

READ ALSO Digital Economy: Nigeria Planning Widest 5G Deployment In Africa 2022 ─Pantami

“The network will go live in phases, starting in June and continuing through to the end of the year.

“When combined with the Equiano cable this network will deliver transformational benefits across the country.”

Stakeholder collaborations with NCC, others on Google’s subsea cable deployment

As part of the Big Tech’s preparation leading up to the final landing of the high capacity Broadband infrstruture Thursday, in Lagos, Google’s West Africa Director affirmed that “we’ve worked with established partners and in-country experts to ensure that Equiano has the greatest potential effect in Nigeria and throughout Africa.”

Mobile Internet consumers

ConsumerConnect had reported Mrs. Ehimuan-Chiazor was on a recent visit to the Head Office of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), in Abuja, FCT, in regard to Google Global Services Nigeria’s partnership with the telecoms regulatory Commission in the country.

She disclosed Google’s latest commitment of $1billion across five years to various interventions to support digital transformation in Nigeria and on the African continent

According to Google Director, the global tech giant has expressed determination to work together with stakeholders and partners towards actualisation of the national targets for ubiquitous Broadband access in furtherance of Nigeria’s digital transformation policy.

Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director of Public Affairs at NCC, recently stated that this development aligns with and gives “unambiguous expression to the NCC strategic vision plan”, centering on strategic partnership with necessary stakeholders in order to achieve regulatory objectives.

RELATED: Danbatta Restates NCC’s Commitment To Broadband, Consumer Protection, Digital Economy

Dr. Adinde noted that the meeting was convened to deliberate on viable collaborative interventions to propel digital transformation across Nigeria in particular and Africa in general.

$1bn interventions for digital transformation in Nigeria nay Africa

The Director of Google West Africa at the meeting similarly disclosed Google’s commitment of $1billion across five years to various interventions in support of digital transformation in Nigeria and across Africa.

Research has proved that Africa will have 300 million additional Internet users, and Nigeria will lead in that number, given its current statistics of over 141 million Internet subscribers and Broadband penetration of over 40.88 percent as of January 2022, said Ehimuan-Chiazor.

The Equiano cable system is said to be the third private international cable owned by Google and the 14th subsea cable invested by Google.

The Broadband facility, which connects Portugal and South Africa, running along the West Coast of Africa, has branching units along the way that can be used to extend connectivity to more African countries, and its first branch, ultimately, landed Thursday, April 21, in Lagos.

NCC’s NNBP targets 70 percent Broadband penetration by 2025 ─Danbatta

Receiving the Google delegation at the Commission’s Head Office in Abuja, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of NCC, said the Commission’s expectations, initiatives, and vision towards increasing Broadband penetration, quality of service, advancement of a digital economy and commitment to improving national security through technological advancement are at the front burner of its regulatory interventions.

Represented at the collaborative engagement with Google by Engr. Ubale Maska, Executive Commissioner, Technical Services (ECTS) at NCC, Prof. Danbatta underscored the strategic importance of such synergy between the Commission and Google.

Nigeria’s telecoms sector regulatory Commission looks forward to making the initiatives of both parties more impactful by enhancing cooperation between the NCC and Google Nigeria for quantifiable and remarkable impact for enhanced consumer experience in the country’s digital ecosystem.

The Commision’s EVC/CEO expressed optimism that Google’s investment in the Equiano subsea cable would be more impactful in driving NCC’s ongoing implementation of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025, designed to increase Broadband penetration to 70 percent by 2025.

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