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FG to launch SPV for delivery of 90,000km of fiber in Nigeria

The Federal Government is set to launch a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for the delivery of an additional 90,000km of fiber optic cable to complement existing connectivity for universal access to the internet across Nigeria.

Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani, who announced this in Abuja, said the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the project during its meeting on Tuesday.

In addition, the Minister said the FEC also approved the set establishment of the Nigeria Startup House in San Francisco. He said the two projects should grab the attention of local tech ecosystem players and investors as key indicators of the government’s commitment to addressing the country’s connectivity and startup funding objectives.

The SPV

Tijani said the Ministry has, over the last few months, begun the groundwork to set up the SPV which will be modeled in governance and operations similar to some of the best Public-Private Partnership setups in Nigeria, such as NIBSS and NLNG.

According to him, working with partners and stakeholders from the government and private sector, the SPV will build the additional fiber optic coverage required to take Nigeria’s connectivity backbone to a minimum of 125,000km, from the current coverage of about 35,000km.

He said the project, upon delivery, will become Africa’s 3rd longest terrestrial fiber optic backbone, after Egypt and South Africa.

Benefits of the project

Highlighting what Nigeria and Nigerians stand to gain from the delivery of more fiber optic cable, the Minister said,

“This extensive coverage will enable us to optimize the unique benefit of having 8 submarine cables already landed in Nigeria and therefore drive uptake of the data capacity that the cables offer, beyond the current usage level of 10%.

“Building on our existing work with the Broadband Alliance, this increased connectivity will help plug the current non-consumption gap by connecting over 200,000 educational, healthcare, and social institutions across Nigeria, ensuring that a larger section of our society can be included in the benefits of internet connectivity.”

He added that that project would also help in increasing internet penetration in Nigeria to over 70% and reduce the cost of access to the internet by over 60%.

Through the project, Tijani said Nigeria would achieve the inclusion of at least 50% of the 33 million Nigerians currently excluded from access to the internet. It is also expected to deliver up to 1.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) growth per capita, raising GDP from $472.6 billion (2022) to $502 billion over the next four years

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