By Prince Osuagwu
IN a matter of months,Â competition in the telecommunications sector in particular and ICT sector in general, would shift from GSM operators who are known for scrambling for the soul of the subscribers to shore up their subscriber base, to two Nigerian companies, Globacom and MainOne which may be battling for the soul of operators and service providers to sign on their submarine cable stables, to provide the much needed fast link fibre connection across Nigeria.
This is as the two companies have each landed a multimillion dollar submarine cable in Lagos and Ghana, signalling a possible take off of fast and affordable broadband services across Nigeria, Ghana and the whole of West African sub region.
MainOne Cable Company at the weekend, announcedÂ conclusion of the shore-end laying of its undersea fibre optic cables in Lagos, Nigeria and Accra, Ghana respectively. This is coming about two weeks after Glo also landed its own cable in Alfa beach Lagos Nigeria and subsequently in Ghana, last week.
Main One said the shore-end cable laying was a critical intermediary procedure in which undersea fibre optic cables are laid on the shores of countries in which the cables are expected to berth, in preparation for the end-to-end laying of the full stretch of the fibre optic cable from its origin in Portugal.
According to Funke Opeke, Chief Executive Officer of Main One Cable Company, â€œthe successful completion of our shore-end cable laying operations in Lagos and Accra, again signposts the seriousness with which this project is being executed and our commitment to ensuring that we deliver on our target completion date of June 2010.â€
The successful completion of its shore-end cable laying operations could truly be seen as a formidable and transparent landmark of the progress being recorded by Main One.
Main One embarked on undersea route survey operations last February and by June had concluded the survey operations. It also secured commitment from multilateral financial institutions as well as Nigerian banks for all of the financing it requires for the first phase of the cable project, same June.
Perhaps that could be a strong reason for Opekeâ€™s delight at the conclusion of the shore-end cable laying. For her, â€œwe continue to be delighted at the steady pace of work on the Main One project and now, manufacture of the specialized cable to be deployed in the entire 7,000 Kilometre route is more than 90 percent completedâ€.
She also added that construction work on the Global Network Operating Center for the cable company, which is sited in Lagos, Nigeria, was recording impressive progress in much the same way as the cable landing station in Accra, Ghana. The company said that whenÂ finalized, the cable would provide 1.92 Terabits per second capacity, which is far more than currently available capacity on any pre-existing undersea cable networks in the West Africa sub-region.
Main One Cable is also billed to provide an open access wholesale mode of distribution to the entire information and communications technology, ICT, industry. Explaining the open access model, Opeke said that it means that broadband capacity will be available to the entire ICT industry in an open and non-discriminatory manner.
â€œIn addition to the capacity building which we are spearheading across the sub-region by driving the transfer of critical IT and internet networking skills to Africans, the Main One project, on completion will stimulate a strong multiplier effect on the economies of the sub-region,â€ she added.