By Amole Olatunde
The Senate Committee on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Cybercrime has expressed its disappointment over the slow pace of Nigeria’s broadband penetration and deployment.
The committee expressed their worries during a recent tour of MainOne’s Data Centre, MDXi in Lagos while commending the company for investing massively in connectivity and data warehousing infrastructures.
But the senators were disappointed that the country has not been able to leverage on the excess capacity of MainOne. Despite the fact that MainOne has bandwidth in excess of 10 terabyte capacity lying fallow at the country’s sea shores, Nigeria’s broadband penetration is still lamentably low.
Broadband penetration has been hindered mainly by lack of last mile infrastructure and the tough business climate in the country.
The Committee Chairman, Senator Buhari Abdulfatai, stated the committee’s readiness to work with relevant agencies to ensure that Nigeria meets its ICT objectives.
On MainOne’s submarine cable system and data centre, Abdulfatai said: “with this capacity already available in-country, there is no reason for the country’s broadband penetration rate to remain at the 21 per cent as reported by the Nigerian Communications Commission, given the booming demand for data and connectivity services in the country.”
Abdulfatai assured that the senate will help to facilitate broadband rollout and give necessary legal teeth to ICT policies including the National Broadband Plan.
MainOne’s Chief Executive Officer, Funke Opeke, lauded the committee’s efforts in ensuring the development of ICT across Nigeria via its support of home-grown enterprises.
“Nigerian content is arguably the most globally recognized African content today, but South Africa and Kenya are perceived as digital leaders in Africa because of the infrastructural gaps in the country. MainOne has made significant investments in ICT infrastructural development in Nigeria, and West Africa, and will continue to do so, but we require full government support to enable the ICT industry in Nigeria surpass other countries.”
Chairman of MainOne, Fola Adeola, also added that, “what is being done at MainOne was what government used to do with lots of difficulties. But here, we do it with ease. Our position today and the future will be on the quality of laws passed by the lawmakers, and this will go a long way to create jobs. Broadband should be available and affordable. Nigerian, universities should run on broadband by now.”