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MainOne, World Bank to Deliver Connectivity in Burkina Faso

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MainOne Submarine Cable

West Africa’s premier connectivity and data centre solution provider, MainOne, is to provide bulk connectivity services in Burkina Faso.

The Nigerian firm, which got the backing of the World Bank, is expected to carry out this function to a consortium of operators through the PAV-Burkina Cooperative for the next three years.

MainOne was chosen by the government of Burkina Faso (with financial backing from the World Bank) to provide PAV-Burkina with bulk capacity to nodes in Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso after an international bid to select a preferred operator.

A landlocked country, Burkina Faso has faced difficulties in accessing world-class connectivity and maintaining ubiquitous broadband internet access due to the lack of infrastructure and the reluctance of major operators to explore operational broadband service delivery models favourable for socio-economic development of the country.

To address this challenge, the PRICAO Initiative was created by the Burkina Faso government, in collaboration with a consortium of Internet Service Providers and Mobile Operators.

The purpose of the initiative is to facilitate the creation of virtual landing points as a platform for the extension of broadband network coverage in the country, with a view to improving the quality of connectivity in the region; increase Internet penetration and improve the performance of ICT services.

In order to set up an independent and competitive framework for connectivity services, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Postal Services (MDENP) with the support of the World Bank, created a Cooperative Consortium (SCOOP PAV-BURKINA).

The consortium brings together key electronic service stakeholders to deliver a turnkey project that will provide fibre optic transmission infrastructure between Ouagadougou and Dakola, to be delivered in two (2) phases within a 3-year period.

This cooperative has the heavy task of managing and administering the infrastructure judiciously in order to ensure a fair distribution for the various marker players.

The World Bank’s $20 million plus support of the PRICAO initiative, has enabled the Burkinabe State set up a 200km fiber optic transmission link from Ouagadougou to Dakola.

The first phase of the project commenced in 2018, with the initial stage providing capacity in Ouagadougou over 3 years.

Phase 2 of the project will commence in quarter two of year 2020 and will lead to the provision of additional internet capacity in Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso within another 3-year period.

MainOne, has been selected to deliver Phase 2 and will provide 10 Gbps broadband capacity in Ouagadougou, together with 5Gbps in Bobo Dioulasso.

Prior to this, MainOne had been selected in 2019 through a restricted bids process and currently deliver an additional capacity of 2.5Gbps to Ouagadougou to strengthen and secure the capacity initially delivered in Phase I of the project.

Leveraging their extensive partnership with key stakeholders in the region, MainOne has been able to provide its services in Burkina through a diverse terrestrial optical fibers connecting its landing point in Accra to the Burkinabe border town of Paga.

These projects and their success highlight the progress made by the Government of Burkina Faso and the initiatives of PAV-BURKNA with regards to critical broadband infrastructures and services in their quest to develop the digital economy.

This is in accordance with the government initiative to strengthen infrastructure and improve connectivity in the country. The collaboration with MainOne has shown that significant progress can be achieved through bulk capacity purchasing, effectively maximizing the values of existing fiber assets in the region, complemented by new investments supported by International Development Agencies (IDA). This is improving service reach and reducing prices for consumers by removing cost duplication.

Through the government’s action, financially supported by the World Bank and technically by the PAV BF cooperative, an increment in broadband internet penetration was recorded from 10% to 19% in 2019. With MainOne’s track record in the region, choosing them for Phase 2 of the project will guarantee a considerable increase in broadband penetration in Burkina Faso and attainment of Government’s digital objectives.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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Dambatta Decries Impact of Vandalism on Telecom Industry

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Nigeria's Telecom Industry

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC),  Mr  Garba Umar Dambatta, has lamented the impact of vandalism on the nation’s telecommunications industry.

Mr Dambatta said the scourge is having negative impacts on Nigeria’s economy and called on Nigerians to ensure adequate protection of telecommunications infrastructure spread across the 36 states of the federation.

He made the call during the Telecom Consumer Village Square Dialogue held at the School of Basic Midwifery, Dambatta, Kano State.

The industry regulatory agency boss, who was represented at the event by Mr Bako Wakili, underscored the need for the public to allow installation of equipment and maintenance/repairs on sites by Technical Staff of Service providers for quality Telecoms service delivery.

“There is the need for the public to guard against destruction of Telecoms infrastructure, through prompt notification of service providers on any ongoing road construction activities by companies or government agencies to avoid service disruption or interference in service,” he said.

Mr Dambatta added that “vandalization of telecom infrastructure discourages investors from investing in Nigeria should their infrastructures be continuously vandalized or stolen.”

“It will be good for the people to report cases of infrastructure vandalism to the nearest Law Enforcement Agents like the Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

“Share adequate information to your family, friends, neighbours and in accordance with the information and materials provided by the NCC. Let’s work with Law Enforcement Authorities on the protection of Telecom Infrastructure in your community,” he said.

According to him, “protection of Telecom Infrastructure is a collective responsibility. protecting the infrastructure means we are protecting every service offered on the network—-(your money, jobs, children’s future and your community.

“Let us work together to protect our telecoms infrastructure for better Quality of Service (QoS) and improved Quality of Experience.

“It is important that we all protect telecommunication infrastructure in our community because is a Critical National Asset that supports a lot of essential services, and ensures a better quality of service delivery and seamless customer experience.”

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MTN Partners Huawei to Deploy Premium Wi-Fi Service in Nigeria

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MTN Group Premium Wifi service

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

To improve the experience of end-users on its network, MTN Nigeria has partnered with Huawei to launch a premium Wi-Fi service in the country.

According to MTN Nigeria’s Chief Technical Officer, Mr Mohammed Rufai, the deployment of the premium Wi-Fi is geared around delivering a superior user experience with high technology.

He stated that this also became necessary due to an increase of smart home device quantiles and new types of services such as video clips and online games which demand a better home network quality.

MTN is working with Huawei on an Autonomous Driving Network project, including various innovative practices such as target architecture design, autonomous level evaluation and high-value use-cases of autonomous networks.

“Home network experience has become a vital area in improving network quality for us. In addition, we want to solve problems such as Wi-Fi interference, coordination between home network terminals and Wi-Fi coverage which occurs frequently and leads to a large proportion of user complaints,” Mr Rufai said.

 “With this, we can proactively identify and accurately locate fault points on home networks. It will help us to improve O&M efficiency and reduce customer complaints,” says Daniel Smith, a senior engineer with the MTN Group.

“In the future, MTN and Huawei will implement more innovations regarding network automation and intelligence, quickly deploy them on the live network to promptly deliver superior user experience of high tech,” he concluded.

The premium Wi-Fi can play back the historical home Wi-Fi performance in the last seven days. It demarcates faults based on speed tests by segment and diagnoses major issues in just one click to rectify problems in the cloud.

Besides, with the self-trouble shooting function on the mobile app, home broadband users are able to solve certain network problems by themselves, allowing them to manage the broadband performance much easier.

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Cyber Attacks: Africa Must Encourage Digital Skills Development—Experts

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Adopt Digital Skills

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Urgent steps must be taken by African leaders to encourage general digital skills to tackle cyber-attacks and crimes on the continent, some experts in the industry have advised.

Speaking at the April edition of the Information Security Society of Africa – Nigeria (ISSAN) event, the stakeholders warned that if efforts are not taken, the governments, citizens and businesses may suffer “catastrophic consequences.”

It was stressed that at the moment, Africa is struggling to match its counterparts in the other parts of the globe due to a shortage of general digital skills caused by brain drain.

At the workshop themed Addressing the Cybersecurity Skills Quagmire, the founder/CEO of Digital Jewels, Mrs Doyin Odunfa, in her presentation, lamented that the shortage of general digital skills at all levels is expected to become more critical as economies grow, noting that the supply of digitally skilled labour must also increase to meet anticipated labour market needs.

She observed that highly skilled African professionals have been emigrating from African countries to pursue lucrative cultural and socio-economic opportunities on other continents leading to a brain drain and skills gap on the continent.

Whilst proffering solutions, she recommended intentional development of digital skills at all levels, smart technology support, collaboration with the Diaspora and strategic supply to Africa and Western economies.

“These young Africans are looking for higher-paying jobs outside Africa to escape socio-economic limitations such as poverty, limited infrastructure, and rudimentary jobs.

“They look for enabling environments in developed countries that provide rewarding businesses and obtain lucrative jobs, matching skilled individuals’ aspirations and expected socio-economic recompense.

“Many highly talented African students that obtain opportunities and scholarships of training abroad do not return home after completing studies,” Mrs Odunfa stated.

In his welcome address, the president of ISSAN, Mr David Isiavwe, said the brain drain in Africa as well as the digital skills shortage currently being experienced around the world calls for concern.

According to him, “The cyber threat landscape is still evolving. The cybersecurity space keeps getting very busy by the day. We have seen how daring cybercriminals can be, targeting both national assets and highly reputable firms. Even individuals are not left out.

“Consequently, it becomes imperative that organizations never relent in upholding and reinforcing information security best practices.”

The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) of Stanbic IBTC, Abumere Igboa; CISO of Heritage Bank, Eduje Ighoakpo; CISO of First Bank, Harrison Nnaji; CISO of Standard Chartered Bank, Oghenefovie Oyawari and the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of Digital Jewels, Tokunbo Taiwo, were the other speakers at the gathering.

ISSAN is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the protection of Nigeria’s cyberspace. It is significantly involved in ensuring the security of banking systems and applications, ATMs, e-government systems, and the entire cyberspace in Nigeria.

The group also seeks to achieve its objectives through awareness heightening measures including the promotion of appropriate legislation and best practices.

Membership cuts across both public and private sectors of the economy including Banks, Telecommunications Operators, Government parastatals, switching companies, IT and IT security consultancies, Legal Practitioners with a keen interest in cyber-related matters, and regulators.

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