Mainone Submarine Cable Project to boost telecom services in Nigeria

February 17, 2009 • Mobile and Telecoms

MainOne Cable Company, the Nigerian company building an open access fibre optic transmission cable known as the submarine cable project, has promised that the project will boost telecommunication services in the country.

The first phase of the submarine project, which is expected to be completed in June 2010, will gulp over N250 million on completion.
The project is the first private sector led and funded international telecommunications highway project between West Africa and the rest of the world, known as the MainOne Submarine cable project.

The cable will significantly expand international and Internet capacity to West Africa by providing 15 times, the capacity available on the entire SAT3 system.

The 1.92 terabits per second capacity cable will run from Portugal into the coast of West Africa, with initial landings in Portugal, Nigeria and Ghana, and possibility of landing in more countries along the coast of West Africa to South Africa as regulatory policies and market opportunities at the region dictate.

From Portugal, it will interconnect other cable systems to London, New York and key cities in Asia. The cable will span 14, 000 kilometres, with approximately 7, 000 kilometres in the first phase between Lagos and Portugal.

Speaking on the extent of work carried out so far during a press conference in Lagos last week, Chief Executive of MainOne Cable Limited, Funke Opeke, said with barely six months into the commencement of the project, the company has completed the engineering stage of the first phase of the project and that survey work is ongoing.

Pleased with the level of work carried out so far, Opeke said the submarine cable project will further reduce the cost of telecom services in the country by between 10 to 20 percent of what is currently paid for such services. The project, according to her, will provide unlimited transmission capacity at improved rate and reduced prices, such that it will enhance speed of Internet browsing. The technology, she explained, will help telecom operating companies who connects to the submarine cable, to have enough transmission capacity to offer services and still sell to smaller operators, if they so desire.

She said the services are targeted at existing telecommunications operators and Internet Service providers (ISPs) and also provides an infrastructure option that does not tie down their capital with long term savings for high quality international bandwidth.

“With this kind of connectivity available, we believe Nigeria and indeed West Africa will finally be launched into the information age with cost effective and fast access or business, e-government, education and other applications,” Opeke said.

According to her, work has begun on the project with the initiation of survey work in Portugal as well as site surveys of the landing sites selected for the cable in Ghana and Nigeria. She said the engineering team was in Acrra, Ghana, but are currently in Lekki, Lagos, where they are busy conducting detailed surveys and design reviews and the Lagos sites where the cable will be landed and cable station built to house the equipment to power the cable and interconnect the network with those of other operator.

“Work on site has gone well and we will finalise the designs so that we can apply for necessary approvals and plan for construction,” Opeke said.

MainOne Cable limited has established a group holding company across several countries in Africa and Europe, aimed at accomplishing the task before the submarine cable project.

Its operational headquarters is based in Nigeria, having secured pioneer international fibre optic cable landing licenses in Nigeria and Ghana. MainOne says it is well positioned to deliver on promise and to be the premier and preferred wholesale international bandwidth provider in these markets.

Its vision is to bridge Africa’s digital divide by providing telecommunications infrastructure that enables cost effective access to global information.

Its goal is to build the most scalable and professionally managed international fibre optic network in Nigeria.

Emma Okonji
Daily Independent (Lagos)

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