Nigeria’s digital agency forges ahead with broadband penetration
Nigeria’s economy and budget have been largely supported from income and revenues generated from the petroleum industry since the 1960s. All that is bound to change sooner than anyone expects. Petroleum oil being displaced as the mainstay of the nation’s economy has been so repeatedly touted in recent years that it has begun to sound like a broken record.
There are a number of candidates to replace oil as the dominant driver of Nigeria’s economy – agriculture, the entertainment industry and Diaspora remittances being among them. However, information technology (IT) has emerged as a hot candidate to dominate the economic horizon. With the global business landscape being driven by IT and Nigeria blessed with both a huge population and untapped economic potential, IT should be expected to put up a good fight among the candidates.
Evidence that digital economy will emerge as the mainstay of the nation’s economy emerged over the one year in a most unlikely circumstance. When, during the lock down compelled by the global pandemic of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in 2020, governance was on the verge of total shutdown, Galaxy Backbone Limited was able to get government running by enabling the regular conduct of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meetings.
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The Minister of communication & Digital Economy, Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami gave orders to the Managing Director of Galaxy Backbone Limited, Muhammad Bello Abubakar, for the agency to rise to the situation. “ICT became the available option,” recalls Abubakar. “He gave me an executive order to ensure the FEC meeting resumes virtually. So we provided the platform and activated some of the materials here and we had the maiden edition and today we have had several FEC meetings using our platform.”
There is no doubt that the Covid19 pandemic changed the world drastically, affecting the economic and socio political lives of everyone. Work life is no longer as it used to be and digital services have been accelerated to ensure that the demands and challenges of the new dispensation are met with the requirements it deserves. Galaxy Backbone (GBB), the digital and shared services provider to public and private organizations has continued to raise the bar in its determination to ensure that services of its customers continue to run at optimal levels in spite of the disruption that has been caused by the COVID -19 pandemic, which remains prevalent across the world.
In the last few months, GBB has increased and strengthened its provision of Internet connectivity and Unified communication services across public establishments to enhance communication and ensure the services they provide to the nation is not disrupted. The Local Area Network of most of these public institutions are being enhanced to ensure high speed connectivity at the different locations. Organisations of government that are yet to engage GBB on this are advised to reach out to Galaxy Backbone to discuss ways in which they can benefit from this service.
GBB, through its Enterprise Business Group is championing partnership initiatives aimed at delivering more value from the huge infrastructure domiciled in Galaxy backbone
A fundamental aspect of any strong and efficient digital economy is the people. GBB is investing in building human capacity with digital skills that will equip them to take on the opportunities of the digital age. In strengthening public agencies, professionals are being trained to enable them perform their function adequately. In partnership with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), GBB recently trained a section of the Digital Transformation Technical Working Group, (DT-TWG). This is a group of IT Professionals set up by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami to support the digital economy drive in the respective agencies of government. The training, which is the first in the series of trainings Galaxy backbone, is embarking on this year, had in attendance members of the working group drawn from across the Federal Government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies. At this training, technical and service experts from Galaxy backbone and the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, took participants on courses ranging from Digital Economy and the Public Sector, use of GOVMAIL, the official government email, for digital communication and network and cyber security in the public sector amongst other digital service programmes.
Officials of Galaxy Backbone, in the last couple of months, have been working relentlessly to ensure that its goals and objectives are achieved in providing an efficient and reliable connectivity and cloud services experience across the country. In his efforts to ensure the GBB regional offices are performing at optimal level, he has visited the Lagos and Enugu regional offices of Galaxy Backbone to ascertain the current situation and strategise on innovative ways of ensuring GBB services are fully operational in the regions. The GBB Office is Lagos caters for the Southwest while the Enugu office caters for the South East and South part of the country. GBB will be expanding its geographical spread across the other regions of the country in the near future.
In building a digital economy, Cyber Security is an integral part of providing reliable services. Galaxy Backbone is building a robust security operations centre that has the capacity to detect and handle all forms of cyber threats within its environment. GBB is partnering with Global Cyber-security organizations like Datasixth to strengthen this value add to the customers they serve. With the signing of the MOU between GBB and Datasixth, organizations are rest assured of improved delivery of its services in a secure environment.
GBB, through its Enterprise Business Group is championing partnership initiatives aimed at delivering more value from the huge infrastructure domiciled in Galaxy backbone. The organization believes that through its local and global collaborations more and more customers will be served with unique services peculiar to their organizations.
Just last month GBB launched “Storm” in Enugu. This connectivity and hosting platform is meant to look into the provision of digital and communication services to businesses and MDAs within the South East and South South region of the country. This is being done in collaboration with its regional partners, Interra Networks.
It is determined to work with the private sector because, as an organization, Galaxy is supposed to be a leading enabler for digital inclusion in Nigeria. “In extending our hands to the private sector,” explains Abubakar, “we are assuring them that we are not competitors with them, but we are trying to provide the enabling environment for them to thrive and deliver on their respective mandates contribute to deepening broadband penetration in the country.”
The agency boasts enormous outlays of backbone infrastructure passing through about 13 states of the federation in the South West, South South and then North Central. So, rather than invest in these infrastructures, Abubakar says to the private sector: “Just see how you can leverage it to provide services to your customers. These will save costs and reduce expenditures.”