FG, World Bank Target $3bn to Expand Fibre Optic Cables in Nigeria

February 14, 2024
Fibre Optic Cables

By Adedapo Adesanya

The federal government and the World Bank are targeting $3 billion to fund an additional 120,000km of fibre optic cables to leapfrog broadband infrastructure and connectivity in Nigeria by 2027.

The Minister of Communications, Innovations and Digital Economy, Mr Bosun Tijani, said this while speaking in Abuja on Tuesday at a stakeholders’ engagement with the theme Realising a Nigerian Vision of Broadband for All.

Mr Tijani expressed hope that the funds would be raised in the next two or three years, noting that it has become imperative to seek investments in the nation’s digital backbone to facilitate access at affordable prices to the digital space for all Nigerians.

“We are here with critical stakeholders on how to attract investments and fund our broadband infrastructure.

“I am sure everybody who is listening to me probably understands that now we cannot do without technology or the Internet; so, we all need quality access regardless of our location.

“There is a need for us to invest in that databank. So, it is the kind of thing that we call the telecommunications infrastructure, or in some cases, we call the fibre optic cables.

“So, there is a cable that helps us make it possible for the internet to happen,” the Minister said.

According to him, Nigeria has laid 3,035km of fibre optic cables, but 120,000km of fibre optic cables would be required for Nigerians to have quality and efficient access to the Internet and other digital services irrespective of their locations.

In his remarks, Mr Franz Drees-Gross, the World Bank Regional Director, (Infrastructure) West and Central Africa,  said the first phase of the project would involve laying 95,000km of fibre optic cables across Nigeria.

He said it would improve access and digital services content in the country, adding that the Nigerian digital ecosystem is vibrant, adding that Nigeria can be the hub for exporting digital services to West Africa.

He added that the World Bank was deeply involved and interested in supporting Nigeria to raise the needed funds for the project.

“We plan to set up a digital National Broadband fund and to roll out about 95,000 kilometres of what we call middle mile cable.

“That is the terrestrial cable in the territory of Nigeria to bring broadband to more parts of the country.

” I think Nigeria has about 35,000 kilometres of broadband cable. The idea is to add another 95,000 and what we are discussing with the government is what is the best way to finance that,” Mr Drees-Gross stated.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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