ipNX CEO Bemoans Low Level of Fibre Optic Infrastructure in Nigeria

April 28, 2022
Segun Okuneye ipNX CEO fibre infrastructure

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The divisional chief executive of ipNX Nigeria, Mr Segun Okuneye, has bemoaned the low level of fibre optic infrastructure in the country as what is on the ground at the moment is only available in a few cities and urban areas.

While addressing telecoms stakeholders at a forum dedicated to the National Policy on 5G network for Nigeria’s digital economy, he attributed factors behind this to vandalism and damage to existing fibre infrastructure from road construction.

He further listed Right of Way (RoW) as a long-standing challenge to telecoms infrastructure roll-out over the years, stating that the fees continue to hinder the deployment of telecommunications infrastructure in Nigeria.

“The proposed Unified RoW is yet to be accepted by several states and their agencies, and as they continue to administer RoW differently with financial demands, this poses major challenges to operators’ rollout plans.

“This is in addition to the divergent policies and inability to obtain R0W permits from the various states,” he lamented.

Mr Okuneye also identified access to foreign exchange (forex) as another cog in the wheel of fibre roll-out for 5G and ubiquitous broadband, noting that the telecoms industry in Nigeria relies heavily on foreign equipment manufacturers and imported technical expertise for deployment and maintenance of networks.

“The cost and process of accessing forex still remain a major challenge to the fibre sub-sector operators, and this could further create a setback for 5G deployment.

“In addition, operators are still experiencing security challenges, sometimes leading to the temporary shutdown of telecom services – caused by Infrastructure vandalism, thefts, and community issues. Hence, security will continue to be a challenge if not effectively tackled,” he said.

According to him, if these issues are not resolved, it may be difficult for the nation to meet the 2025 target for broadband penetration.

He stated that at the moment, Nigeria needs additional 167,000 kilometres of fibre infrastructure to fulfil this target.

“The nation needs between 120,000 and 167,000 km of fibre infrastructure in addition to the existing 55,000 km,” Mr Okuneye submitted, adding that the critical link between undersea cables that conveys huge connectivity capacity into the country and the end-users is the fibre sub-sector, where ipNX Nigeria is a major player.

“Nigeria needs three times more fibre infrastructure than it currently has to attain about 90 per cent broadband penetration among others by 2025,” he said.

He stressed that it is important to lay fibre now to potential small and macrocells, wherever and whenever possible and existing cell sites because “this is a critical preparatory step if these cell sites are to be upgraded to 5G in the coming years.”

Aduragbemi Omiyale

Aduragbemi Omiyale is a journalist with Business Post Nigeria, who has passion for news writing. In her leisure time, she loves to read.

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