In the modern world, it takes the boldness of a leadership vision to build a connected smart city. Today, Lagos State is leading the way in Nigeria. In one of Africa’s boldest telecommunications infrastructure projects, the Lagos State government, under its public-private partnership scheme, awarded a few years ago the construction of a 3,000 km six-lane unified conduit fiber optic infrastructure project to Western Telecoms and Engineering Services Limited.
The project rollout started in June 2020 with a 24-month completion schedule and has so far recorded several successes, such as completing over 2,600 km of fiber infrastructure, connecting over 1,000 telecom base station sites from MTN and Airtel to fiber infrastructure, signing agreements with Liquid Telecom, Mainone, Dolphin Telecoms, Swift, Spectranet, etc. for fiber network connectivity and ongoing negotiations with most mobile network operators and internet service providers in Lagos.
Conceptualized under the dynamic and visionary leadership of Governor Babajide Sanwoolu as an open access model, the project enables telecommunications companies to rapidly expand mobile services in Lagos, while also serving as a launch pad for 4G technology that will offers a more efficient, faster and affordable service. broadband connectivity in the state. MTN Airtel and other telecommunications companies have joined the project to launch 4G services in several areas of Lagos.
The Lagos State Government, in signing the agreement with the PPP partner, has insisted on universal coverage of all local government areas and LCDAs in the state to ensure that no community is left behind. counts in the determination to transform Lagos into a globally competitive smart city. Project deployment contractors are working across the state from Epe to Ikorodu, Badagry to Ojo, Alaba to Aspanda, Ikeja to Lekki and Agege to other parts of the Alimosho local government.
Over time, the unified fiber infrastructure system has garnered high praise and praise from some of the world’s largest ICT companies, while encouraging the extension of other large-scale infrastructure to the contractor. The West Indian Ocean Cable Company, WIOCC, is one of the world’s leading providers of broadband capacity for international telecom operators, OTTs, content providers and Internet service providers. WIOCC, which manages more than 75,000 kilometers of terrestrial fiber with several investments in undersea cables providing services to Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon and other major telecommunications operators around the world, described the fiber project. unified system of Lagos State as one of the most critical steps towards achieving an effective system. , fast and affordable internet connectivity and the right innovative way to accelerate the Lagos smart city agenda.
WIOCC Director of Development, Mr. Darren Bedford further qualified the highway project to provide broadband capacity to homes, schools, offices and government buildings in Lagos. He said that with the imminent completion of the Google Equiano Undersea Fiber Project and the Facebook-backed 2Africa Undersea Fiber Project with landing stations in Lagos, the unified conduit project will serve as the infrastructure of natural distribution for broadband capacity throughout Lagos, becoming the technology the backbone of the state government’s THEMES program.
Currently, the project team is working on extending the connectivity of Google’s Equiano Cable Landing Station and Facebook 2 Africa to other data centers such as Liquid Telecom’s Africa Data Center, the Main one data center, Globacom data center, Medallion at Saka Tinubu, Victoria Island and Rack Center at Ikeja. The project has suddenly become essential infrastructure for the whole country with the wholesale broadband companies contract with LASG/WTES Metro to help offload the huge bandwidth landing on the Nigerian coast by Google and Facebook, which in turn helps to increase broadband penetration with affordable connectivity costs for Nigerians. As the project cable goes from Portugal to Nigeria, Namibia, South Africa and Saint Helena, the initial configuration of Equiano should be ready in the second half of 2022 and 2 Africa Planned for the 2 half of 2023 with extensions to add later.
The Lagos State Governor’s vision to rapidly construct the 3,000km unified fiber optic project has become the single most important success factor for Google’s Equiano Undersea Cable, Google’s 2 Africa Undersea Cable, Facebook and the evacuation of large-scale broadband capacity (provided by the aforementioned undersea cables) which otherwise they would have been blocked in different parts of Lagos State and through the same fiber pipes to d other parts of Nigeria. Overall, the fiber duct project is also the main driver of 4G connectivity by mobile network operators across the state.
According to a study by Africa Practice and Genesis Analytics, commissioned by Google, internet speeds in Nigeria are expected to quintuple and nearly triple in South Africa and Namibia by 2025, thanks to Equiano. The study predicts that internet prices will fall by 16% to 21% in the three countries over the same period. Meanwhile, improved speeds and lower prices are expected to increase internet penetration by more than 7 percentage points in Nigeria and South Africa, and 9 percentage points in Namibia.
In addition, the research claims that the average real economic growth year-over-year is expected to increase by 0.57 points, 0.32 points and 0.56 points in Nigeria, South Africa and Namibia thanks to Equiano. , between 2022 and 2025. It is further expected that the cable will indirectly create 1.6 million jobs in Nigeria, 180,000 in South Africa and 21,000 in Namibia during this period.
Naturally, the unified conduit project has sparked the growth of ancillary businesses across Lagos State. The state has always been the hub of tech and fintech companies in Nigeria, but with the construction of a robust fiber network across the city, the number of such companies has increased dramatically. Most importantly, foreign data center investors have chosen Lagos as the new data center hub in Africa with a total of around 12 new data centers being established in the state, and all old and new requesting fiber connectivity to their data. centers.
There is no doubt that the boldness and impact of this innovative Lagos State Unified Duct Fiber project under the visionary government of Governor Babajide Sanwoolu has reverberated through the global ICT community. The project simply puts Lagos State among the smart cities of the world, and other states in Nigeria will take several years to catch up with the technological advancement of the Center of Excellence which is already attracting billions of dollars in investments.
The project’s social imperatives are also visible in the more than 100 schools across the state already connected to it, all of which will come online with free broadband availability in schools in a matter of weeks. At the same time, the Unified Duct project also connects all higher education institutions, local government offices and state markets. Interestingly, this is the main connectivity backbone for CCTV cameras installed and operated by the state government to help detect and reduce crime rates in the city. Indeed, the Lagos Smart City is on the fast track.