By Prince Osuagwu,
Lagos State may still be the first state in Nigeria to implement full scale smart city initiative, as technology company and submarine broadband cable investor, MainOne, has boosted its efforts with a whopping 2700km length of fibre optic coverage.
The company also hopes to inject about N25 billion into the project, apparently to make absolutely sure that no other state would overtake it in the bid to become a model state with modern city facilities for all states in Nigeria.
A smart city is an urban area that uses different types of electronic Internet of things, IoT sensors to collect data and then use these data to manage assets and resources efficiently. This includes data collected from citizens, devices and assets that are processed and analysed to monitor and manage traffic and transportation systems, power plants, water supply networks, waste management, crime detection, information systems, schools, libraries, hospitals, and other community services.
The smart city concept integrates information and communication technology, ICT, and various physical devices connected to the IoT network to optimise the efficiency of city operations and services and connect to citizens
The Lagos State Government and the City of Dubai recently entered into a historic partnership meant to see Lagos emerge the first Smart City in Africa.
The Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, for the Lagos Smart City, which was signed at the Emirate Towers, Dubai by the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem and the Chief Executive Officer of Smart City Dubai LLC, Mr. Jabber Bin Hafez, is expected to make Lagos the home of the very first Smart City in Africa.
The Lagos Smart City project was primed to be a growing concept that draws from the success of Dubai’s innovative knowledge-based industry clusters to empower business growth for companies and knowledge workers all over the world.
However, at the heart of a smart city is broadband connection which is a scarce commodity in Nigeria, generally due to bottlenecks caused by non-harmonised right of way prices between the Federal Government and the states.
This alone appeared to be the clog in the wheel of the project.
However, Mainone, a technology company based in Lagos may have stepped in to bridge the gap. It announced plans to inject about N25 billion and unleash additional 2,000km fibre optic facility to the existing 700km running in the state.
Mainone said the project was part of its Digital Lagos: Broadband for All campaign initiative, targeted at enabling Lagos’ digital transformation through the deployment of ubiquitous broadband infrastructure across the state.
Chief Executive Officer, Mainone, Funke Opeke, said the company is looking at collaborating with the Lagos State Government and all other relevant stakeholders to build a digital state. This will enable residents from all walks of life access modernised education, health and other services delivery, and improved quality of life, as it helps the state achieve sustainable economic growth.
Opeke said: “Mainone is pleased to have the opportunity to present plans for Digital Lagos, a proven path to ubiquitous broadband connectivity. This plan will involve the investment by Mainone of over N25 billion over the next two to three years, to develop critical fibre optic infrastructure to enable broadband services across Lagos State.”
Opeke, added that the initiative was actually part of the execution of the Infraco licence the firm got in 2015.
For her, “Mainone has pioneered investments in critical Internet-enabling infrastructure in Lagos and across West Africa.
“We have invested over N120 billion funded by leading African banks, and have proven capabilities in expanding and densifying localised fibre networks in neighbouring Ogun and Edo states by deploying almost 1000kms of fibre in partnership with Facebook to expand broadband access and connect government institutions and other areas of interest.
Consultant to the Project and Chief Executive Officer, Hipconsult, Judah Levine, said Digital Lagos Plan will deploy world-class, open-access fibre optic networks through all local government areas and business districts in the state, including fast-growing population centres such as Alimosho, Ajeromi, Ifelodun, Kosofe and Ikorodu.
Levine hinted that the resulting network would provide connectivity to critical state institutions, and can easily be extended to other locations, including 94 per cent of 1,259 health centres; 97 per cent of 3,046 known schools and universities, among a host of others.