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Failing journey to broadband penetration killing Smart Cities Initiative, DI

…As IHS dumps NCC’s Infraco license due to harsh RoW terms

The confusion and blame game trailing the inability of licensed Infrastructure Companies (Infracos) and the continued denial of the government to agree that licencees are not getting easy access to deliver Optic Fibre Cables (OFCs) are becoming very clear.

For more than two years, Infracos have been going back and forth with little or no hope in sight as broadband penetration remains stagnant to the detriment of several development plans of both governments and the private sector due to harsh terms on Right of Way (RoW).

Across Nigeria, there are strong indication that states governments may have dumped their initial plans for Smart Cities Initiatives’ (SCI) and even the federal government’s drive to Digital Inclusion (DI).

The irony of the situation is that the same states governments that are frustrating the delivery of OFCs which is the key factor in deepening internet access and broadband penetration are decrying absence of data to drive smart city initiatives.

Only recently, one of the licensed Infrastructure Companies (Infracos), IHS abandoned operations in his zone and dumped its licence based on what it described as inability to cope with terms and conditions given by states governments within the zone on ROW to deliver broadband infrastructure.

Just as the International Data Corporation’s (IDC) forecast has indicated that worldwide spending on the technologies that enable SCI will hit $80 billion in 2018, nothing is going on in several Nigerian cities that have signaled readiness to join SCI.

Some of Nigerian states that have declared interest in SCI include Lagos, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, FCT and Enugu states.

In Lagos, Business Hilights Intelligence Unit (BHIU) checks showed that the multibillion naira CCTV spots located within key flash points are yet to start functioning well as the platform is dependent on data availability.

Analysts say SCI attain digital transformation in an urban ecosystem to meet environmental, financial, and social outcomes.

In IDC’s view, a Smart City begins to be developed when multiple smart initiatives are coordinated to leverage technology investments across an entire city, use common platforms to decrease service time/maintenance costs, share data across systems, and tie IT investments clearly to smart missions.

Smart City programs are enabled by 3rd Platform technologies, and emerging technologies are accelerated in the city ecosystem to deliver innovative solutions in very specific areas.

In the first release of the Worldwide Semiannual Smart Cities Spending Guide, IDC provides a detailed look at the technology investments associated with a range of Smart Cities priorities and use cases.

As these initiatives gain traction, IDC expects spending to accelerate over the 2016-2021 forecast period, growing to $135 billion in 2021.

According to Serena Da Rold, program manager in IDC’s Customer Insights & Analysis Group, “Smart Cities have recently evolved from a collection of discrete flagship projects to a sizeable market opportunity that will drive significant technology investments in 2018 and beyond.

“IDC believes that the strategic priorities we identified will drive digital transformation across cities of all sizes, but our research demonstrates that there can be significant differences in the focus of investments across regions,” Da Rold noted.