Nigeria to get SPV for delivery of 90,000km of fibre, eyes 60% cut in access

A special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) that will deliver an additional 90,000km of fibre optic cable to complement existing infrastructure for universal access to the Internet across Nigeria is to be unveiled by the Federal Government.

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

Tijani added that the FEC also approved the establishment of the Nigeria Startup House in San Francisco, US. 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 minister 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 fibre optic coverage required to take Nigeria’s connectivity backbone to a minimum of 125,000km, from the current coverage of about 35,000km.

The project is expected to help the country increase Internet penetration in Nigeria to over 70 per cent and reduce the cost of access to the Internet by over 60 per cent.

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

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

The minister said: “This extensive coverage will enable us to optimize the unique benefit of having eight 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 per cent.

“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.”

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