Business Hilights
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Why incoming Google subsea data cable, Equiano’ll first land in Nigeria

…Even as investments in Terrestrial fibre continue to hang in balance

More details emerged weekend explaining why the incoming Google submarine cable system designed to shuttle high-speed data between Africa and Europe is slated to land first in Nigeria.
Business Hilights also gathered that the Equiano cable is named for Olaudah Equiano an African writer and abolitionist, who was sold into slavery prior to buying his own freedom.
Traditional subsea cables are powered from the shore and need a dedicated set of pump lasers to amplify the optical signal for each fiber pair as data travels the length of the cable, according to Google.
Investigations showed that the subsea cable is planned to land in Nigeria first due to the fact Nigeria currently remains the African economy with the largest drive to deepen digital economy even though terrestrial fibre rollout remains an issue of concern.
This point was further corroborated by panelists at the just concluded at the International Telecoms Week’s (ITW) Africa Panel Session, who averred that terrestrial fiber infrastructure investments are key to enabling the growth of Africa’s digital economy.
Speaking at the ITW, held recently in Atlanta, USA, with the theme: ‘Enabling Africa’s Digital Economy,’ Principal Analyst at TeleGeography, Patrick Christian, observed that even though the study of global trends show Africa maintaining its position as the fastest growing region in Internet usage, data availability and affordability are disturbing issues in the region and more frustrating in Nigeria.
Continuing, Christian recognized the role content providers such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook, play in driving Internet traffic and the expectation that their traffic on the continent will increase with the growth of Africa’s digital economy.
However, issue of content provision will continue to be limited in Nigeria considering the inability of telecoms Infrastructure Companies (Infracos), who had secured licences from the regulator for more than five years ago, but could not deliver on the use of the licences because States governors’ have maintained hard stand in high fees for Right of Way (RoW).
Analysts say the inability of even the Federal Government to prevail on state governments to reduce RoW fees per square meter has become a key challenge in fast-forwarding the delivery of last-mile facilities and terrestrial fibre optic cables to drive broadband penetration.
Though the regulator had continued to roll out statistics showing that the nation is jumping in teledensity and broadband access, observers the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is confusing itself and majority of Nigerians with mere growth in mobile broadband than the fixed broadband which remains the key driver of the required broadband for real digital economy in the world.
Additional details on the planned delivery of the Equiano subsea cable and its delivery route showed that it will start in Western Europe and run along the West Coast of Africa, between Portugal and South Africa, with branches along the way that can be used to extend connectivity to additional African countries.
The first phase of the project, connecting South Africa with Portugal, is slated to be finished in 2021. Equiano is Google’s third private cable, following on the heels of Dunant (between Europe and the U.S.) and Curie, which runs between the U.S. and Chile. Marie Curie was a Nobel Prize winning scientist while Henry Dunant was a Swiss businessman that founded the Red Cross, and was the winner of the first Nobel Prize.
Already, a Google blog disclosed that the Equiano cable, which will be laid by Alcatel Submarine Networks, will tap into space-division multiplexing (SDM) technology, which will enable about 20 times more network capacity than the last cable built to serve the region. Google is also adding SDM to the transatlantic Dunant cable.