By Prince Osuagwu
As a way of side stepping the environmental and man-made challenges in deploying last mile technologies, Chief Executive Officer of Phase3 Telecom, Mr. Stanley Jegede has advocated that the use of aerial optic fibre network may just provide another reliable means of carrying communications traffic.
Jegede, who stated this in a chat with the media in Lagos at the weekend,, noted that the communications system, which is based on optic fiber cables running along electric power transmission lines, provides many advantages over the traditional underground cable system.
He stated that with the current challenges facing the deployment and use of underground optic fiber cables especially Right of Way issues, persistent vandalism and ecological problems, aerial optic fiber systems offer some form of immunity against these problems.
â€œWe all know that putting cables underground is one of the most difficult challenges that telecom firms face today especially with companies often being held to ransom by communities and other people over right of way. Besides erosion that sometimes leaves underground cables exposed, there has been persistent vandalism and theft of underground cables all over the country, which often cuts off communications and could take a bit of time to identify and repair. These are some problems that aerial system quickly helps operators to overcomeâ€ he said.
Jegede, whose firm runs the regionâ€™s only aerial optic fiber network, added that given the country and indeed the West African region was still a developing one, road construction and building of other infrastructure would be very frequent, leading to underground cables often being cut.
This situation, according to him, highlights the need for a backup network, adding that this is where the Phase3 aerial optic fiber network comes in especially as high tension networks often have dedicated routes by law. He said that with this situation many operators have seen the need to embrace aerial optic fiber use, as it provides a huge relief for them whenever the underground optic fiber(s) fail.
He said, â€œIn Nigeria today all the operators including those that have their own transmission networks have embraced phase3â€™s aerial optic services especially after they have seen the advantages that it offers them. We believe that even for those that may already have excess capacity, aerial optic fibre provides a very reliable backup and alternative.
This is also in addition to the fact that there are certain areas of coverage of the Phase3 aerial optic fibre system which other terrestrial network are not designed to reach currently due to the countries road and highway networkâ€.
Jegede also noted that most optic fiber cables follow the same predictable route, meaning that they are all likely to be affected at the same time in the event of anything catastrophic happening; such as fire, road construction and vandalism. This, he added, clearly defines an obvious need for a reliable alternative to the underground fiber that is used by operators.
He noted further that besides providing the best quality, aerial optic fiber provides many advantages over underground cables in the transmission business. Among them, he said, is the ease and speed of deployment, stating that aerial optic fiber is one backhaul means that can be quickly expanded to un-served and underserved locations unlike underground optic fiber.