By Adeyemi Adepetun, All Africa
November 1, 2017
After several investments worth over $1 billion (N306 billion), the nation’s submarine cable system is still hampered by gross underutilisation.
The cost of NITEL’s South Atlantic 3 (SAT3) fibre optic cable, which now belongs to ntel, for instance is put at over $600 million. MTN’s West African Cable System (WACS) costs $650 million. ACE cable, by Dolphin Telecoms, is worth about $700 million. While MainOne gulped about $300 million, the cost of Globacom’s Glo1 cable is estimated at $800 million.
Going by the capacity of the system with bandwidth potential in excess of 19.2 terabytes and over 340 gigabytes, a revolution, as witnessed in the mobile phone segment, should have been replicated in e-governance, e-health, e-banking, e-education, telemedicine and e-security, especially at a time the country is hoping to deepen broadband penetration by 30 per cent.
This, however, has not been the case, raising concern among operators in the sub-sector who claim they have not broken even yet, not to talk of making profit after years of investment.
Consequently, while there is a glut in bandwidth capacities at the shores, network expansion to hinterlands and expected falling prices in subscriptions that would fuel explosive growth in mobile broadband and other Internet related services, are still seriously constrained.