By Prince Osuagwu
WHEN Second National Operator, Globacom launch-ed its fixed line unit, Glo Broad Access, in Lagos, last week, the government made some very frank statements which ordinary Nigerians may have thought it was not away of.
First, the Minister of State for Information and Communications, Alhaji Aliyu Bilbis said that the launch of Glo Broad Access service, has changed the face of fixed line telephony in a way that will accelerate rapid economic growth in the country.
â€œGlo is known for its commitment to innovation. The benefit of a fast internet platform and fixed line which Glo has now brought to Nigeria cannot be overemphasized because it will make enormous contributions to the rapid growth of the nationâ€™s economy.
â€œWhile the GSM sub-sector has grown rapidly over the last eight years, fixed line telephony has remained largely undeveloped. We have no doubt that Glo is now positioned to lift the fixed line sub-sectorâ€, he added.
Second, the Senate Committee Chairman on Information and Communications, Sen. Sylvester Anyanwu, at the same occasion, confessed that it has been a wonder to him, how Nigerians have coped and survived under the heavy burden of cost involved in using mobile phones at home, offices and on the go.
â€œThis launch is even more significant because the rate of fixed to mobile penetration in Nigeria has been very low. I cannot imagine how we survive, usingÂ mobile phones in offices and at home.
With the introduction of Broad Access, Glo has brought fixed line telephony back to gloryâ€, he said.
What these statements meant was that the government knew that a lot of relief would come the way of Nigerians if the traditional fixed line telephony resurfaces. The government also knew all the while that a large chunk of the economy was going down the drain since the absence of fixed line telephony in Nigeria.
But that was a problem a national carrier like Nitel was meant to solve and government seemingly aided its rape. Even the rebranding of the massive national asset which is fast turning moribund has proven a hard nut for a government with resources that stand it out among major countries of the world.
Three times sale of Nitel has turned stalemate in the past. Two times recently, deadline for sale of Nitel has been unmet.
However, if the licensing of a second national carrier is for such purposes, then the government is getting it right, for Globacom has vowed that if telecom is what it takes a nation to stand great, its contributions would see that Nigeria is not a push over in the world order.
The company considers the launch of the product, a revolutionary activity because unlike what Nitel used to give at cut throat, it has repackaged in a model way to suit a highly mobile world without putting holes in subscribersâ€™ pockets.
Globacomâ€™s Group Chief Operating Officer, Mohamed Jameel summed it up: â€œGlo Broad Access is revolutionary because it offers Nigerians the benefits of truly fast broadband internet, stable and distortion-free voice connections, video conferencing and even cable television through Glo wired lines installed in their homes and offices at a very low costâ€.
But is it uhuru yet? In a country where the broadband penetration is near zero and subscription level is mainly mobile, where does the Glo broad Access convergence leave the subscriber?
But Jameel was on hand to field the questions. â€œWe know what we are doing because every of our activities work together. You remember we have a state-of-the-art 10,000 km long optical fibres that connect the 40 cities of Nigeria.
The OFC Network of Glo broad access has a distinction of being the largest OFC Network, not just in Nigeria, but in Africa.
â€œYet in keeping with the international trend as indeed in Nigeria, which is the changing complexities of Telecoms traffic and requiring enormous bandwidth, Glo has deployed the most current Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) technology to build its OFC Network. DWDM is both Data and Voice Centric technology. DWDM equips the OFC Network of Glo with the competitive advantages of: Capacity for enormous volumes of voice, Data and video; Congestion-free traffic with each channel having dedicated bandwidth; Fast and flexible provisioning of protocol transparent services; Scalability with potentially unlimited transmission capacities and it offers optimization potential by a factor of 64kbps.
â€œ We also considered seriously, economy and affordability of the product, leading to overall economic development of the nation. Believe it not only that the fixed line telephony service has come back to its roots, the economy would smile at the end of the dayâ€ he added.