Hope of transforming Lagos to a Smart City is coming alive, as MainOne, connectivity and data centre solution provider, is committing N25 billion to deploy fibre optic infrastructure in Lagos to enable broadband connectivity across the state, through its “Digital Lagos: Broadband for All” plan.
MainOne, recently granted an infrastructure company (InfraCo) licence by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) to build digital infrastructure in Lagos, has drawn out a plan to build over 2,000 kilometres of fibre optic infrastructure with associated electronics in the next two to three years.
This will enable Lagos connect all institutions to the fastest networks, in addition to its already existing 700-kilometer network that covers major centres and Yaba, Nigeria’s tech hub.
Funke Opeke, CEO, MainOne, says the company’s ambition to help build a smart Lagos is inspired by the vision of Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the incoming governor, who noted presciently that ‘Technology will improve the rule of law, education, ease of doing business and government processes of Lagos.’
Opeke, who spoke with journalists at the MainOne head office in Lagos, Tuesday, said, “This critical infrastructure will enable Lagos connect schools, health centres and all institutions to the fastest networks. The shared and open infrastructure will connect telecom operators and internet service providers (ISPs) who can connect their towers and base stations to deploy more 4G and have the platform for 5G.”
According to Opeke, the possibilities for Lagos through broadband are enormous, in terms of job creation, security, education, GDP growth and Foreign Direct Investments. The resulting network to be built by MainOne will also provide essential connectivity to critical State institutions, cover over 300 government agencies, up to 10,000 state CCTV locations, telecom operators and ISPs, smart city components/IOT devices, in addition to enterprises.
“We are launching this program at this time because the incoming government has set a vision to leverage technology to improve the fortunes of Lagos and to transform Lagos from just being a Mega City to being a Smart City and a 21st Century economy.
“Without this kind of infrastructure, you can’t achieve a digital Lagos. The infrastructure is the basic building block that you require to deploy WiFi in bus stations, public places, to get businesses, hubs and people connected. Broadband will support the deployment of surveillance cameras to efficiently monitor traffic, streets activity, and provide real-time data to security officials to minimize crime and enhance public safety,” she said.
Hip Consult, an independent management consulting firm, with specialisation in ICT and significant experience in infrastructure projects and technology around the world, will be working with MainOne to put together a concept paper and a plan for the project.
Judah Levine, CEO, HIP Consult, said a digital Lagos was a significant opportunity that was a prerequisite to realise all the benefits of a digital economy.
“We were engaged in order to undertake some research and analysis on what a digital Lagos could enable, and we have found out that fibre networks are the lifeblood of connectivity: when people talk about connecting towers, data centres, broadband revolution and job creation from a digital economy and many other benefits, the pre-requisite for all of this is connectivity,” he said.
To date, MainOne has invested over N120 billion in infrastructure funded by AfDB, AFC, DEG and leading African banks and has proven its capabilities in expanding and demystifying localised fibre networks in neighbouring Ogun and Edo states by deploying almost 1,000 kilometres of fibre in partnership with Facebook to expand broadband access and connect government institutionsand other areas of interest.