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Nigeria Boasts of Six Submarine Cables…Seventh Cable Landing Soon

TechEconomy.ng counted six (6) submarine cables that have landed at the seashores of Nigeria with the seventh submarine cable on the way.

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Visualization - A cable landing in progress, Nigeria Submarine Cables
Equiano cable landing in progress

With broadband penetration at 40.9% as at February 2022Nigeria hopes to intensify the penetration rate across the cities, drawing strength from huge capacities Equiano Cable System, and other submarine cables have brought to the seashores. 

TechEconomy.ng counted six (6) submarine cables that have landed at the seashores of Nigeria with the seventh submarine cable on the way.

Although, there are broadband alternatives for your business or home internet outside fiber optic cable like the satellite broadband, but the lists here and there, will tell you that most Internet Service Providers in Nigeria offer broadband connectivity services through the fiber cables.

Well, innovation in this space is endless like what we see Tizeti trying to do with Microsoft under the Airband Initiative.

So far six submarine cables have landed in Nigeria. They are;

  • Equiano Cable System by Google/WIOCC
  • SAT-3 Cable,
  • MainOne Cable,
  • Glo1 Cable,
  • ACE Cable,
  • WACS Cable by MTN

1. Equiano Cable

With a design capacity roughly 20 times larger than any other cable currently serving the region, the Equiano subsea internet cable will have a direct impact on connectivity, resulting in faster internet speeds, reduced internet prices and improved user experience in Nigeria.

Equiano Map, Nigeria submarine cables

Equiano Map

It was launched by Google LLC in partnership with West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC).

2. SAT-3

SAT-3/WASC or South Atlantic 3/West Africa Submarine Cable is a submarine communications cable linking Portugal and Spain to South Africa, with 17 landing points, connections to several West African countries like Nigeria, Ghana, along the route. In March 2016, Natcom Development and Investment Limited, trading as ntel, a broadband LTE network, announced the successful repair and return to service of its SAT-3 submarine cable system.

3. MainOne Cable

The Main One Cable is one of the most celebrated submarine communications cables in Nigeria. It stretches from Portugal to South Africa with landings along the route in various West African countries. MainOne Cable was first put to use on July 22, 2010.

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MainOne Cable

The total length is 14,000 km with design capacity of 1280 Gbit/s. Equinix recently completed US$320 million acquisition of MainOne as its first step in long-term strategy to become a leading African carrier-neutral digital infrastructure company, enabling organizations to accelerate digital transformation throughout the continent.

4. Glo1 Cable

The Globacom-1 (Glo-1) submarine cable system is a 9800km submarine cable connecting Bude in UK to Lagos in Nigeria and the rest of West Africa. It has landing points in Nigeria, London, Lisbon in Portugal, Accra in Ghana, etc.

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The Glo-1 cable system consists of 2 fibre pairs, with an initial design capacity of 320 (32*STM-64), and upgraded to 2.5Tbps.

The Glo-1 cable system is owned and operated by Globacom Limited of Nigeria, supplied by ASN with a total cost of about $250 million. The Glo-1 cable landed in Alfa Beach, Lagos in Nigeria in September 2009, and the whole project completed in July 2010.

Globacom activated the Glo-1 cable system for service in October 2010.

5. ACE Cable

On Wednesday 30 June 21, the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable became available for interconnection at all three of Teraco’s data centres across South Africa.

The cable, which represents a total investment of around $700 million, covers roughly 17,000km along the West Coast of Africa (Nigeria inclusive) and up into Europe, connecting Duynefontein, South Africa at its most southern point to Penmarch, France at its most northern.

ACE Cable, Teraco

ACE subsea cable

The system is owned by a consortium of 20 members, including Orange, MTN, Dolphin Telecom, and various regional players.

6. WACS Cable by MTN

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WACS (West African Cable System) is regarded as the most advanced and only ultra-high capacity submarine cable system ever to hit the shores of Nigeria.

WACS is delivered to Nigeria by MTN and links Europe, West Africa and South Africa. With WACS, businesses can enjoy unfettered connectivity between anywhere in Nigeria and anywhere in the world. With bandwidth capacity of over 5.12 Tbps and spanning 14,530 km, WACS delivers international connectivity.

7. 2Africa Cable is coming soon as the seventh submarine cable in Nigeria.

The 2Africa consortium, comprised of China Mobile International, Meta, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, stc, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone and WIOCC, announced the first landing of the 2Africa cable – in Genoa, Italy, recently.

2Africa, Nigeria Submarine Cables

The landing sets the tone for more landings in the coming months as the cable is extended to a total of 46 locations by the completion of the project in 2024.

2Africa

TechEconomy.ng can report that one of the 46 locations is in the South East Nigeria; Vodafone, the 2Africa landing party in Genoa, has partnered with Equinix to land the cable directly into the Equinix Carrier Neutral Data Center (CNDC), with Retelit delivering the fronthaul.

As with all 2Africa cable landings, capacity will be available to service providers in Genoa on a fair and equitable basis, encouraging and supporting the development of a healthy internet ecosystem.

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Welcoming the news about Cable Equiano, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim (​​Pantami), the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy (Nigeria), and Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), promised to continue to drive policy initiatives that promote investment in infrastructure in the Nigerian telecom industry in order to deepen connectivity to enhance the nation’s growth and development.

ASUU Pantami

| Prof. Isa Pantami

The Minister said the Federal Government, through the Ministry, will continue to drive the implementation of existing digital economy-oriented policies already put in place by the current administration.

Pantami also promised an enabling environment that encourages foreign and local investment in infrastructure project such as the way Google and its co-investors have done.

Also commenting, Danbatta said the Commission’s expectations, initiatives, and vision towards increasing broadband penetration, quality of service, advancement of a digital economy, and commitment to improving national security through technological advancement, are on the priority list of its regulatory interventions.

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Danbatta expressed delight that Equiano has joined the list of other submarine cables at the shores of Nigeria, including SAT3 cable, MainOne cable, Glo1 cable, ACE cable, WACS cable by MTN respectively.

NCC, Airtel Licence, local investment

| Prof. Umar Danbatta, EVC of NCC

The EVC assured stakeholders of Commission’s commitment towards ensuring that the huge bandwidth capacity from these cables at shore in Lagos would be transmitted to different part of the country to drive robust and ubiquitous infrastructure.

This is in keeping with the provisions of the digital economy policy being implemented by government in collaboration with all stakeholders.

The EVC expressed optimism that Google’s investment in the subsea cable, Equiano, will be significant in driving NCC’s ongoing implementation of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025, which aims at increasing broadband penetration to 70 per cent by 2025.

“We are hopeful that Equiano, together with earlier undersea cables in the country, will have additional landing points in the hinterlands through collaborative efforts with NCC-licensed Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos). This will help to reduce retail data prices significantly and thereby complementing the Commission’s efforts at ensuring that affordable Internet services are available to boost Commission’s ongoing broadband policy initiatives”. Danbatta stated and thereby helped to reiterate the objective linkages of policies and plans in the telecom ecosystem, and the national economic strategies.

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Meanwhile, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who also witnessed the virtual landing of the Google Equiano Sea Cable System in Nigeria, said that the country will enjoy a boost of 1.6 million jobs and $10 billion in additional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the next three years, on account of the new cable system.

He said with the landing of the sea cable system and other investments in high-speed internet, Lagos is about to witness an unprecedented digital revolution that will cement its global reputation as a hub for entrepreneurial innovation.

Google Equiano, TwitterNG

| L-r: Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Director, Google West Africa, Juliet Ehimuan and CEO of West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC), Chris Wood, during a reception marking the Landing of the Google Equiano Cable System in Nigeria, at the Open Access Data Centre, Lekki, Lagos, on Thursday, 21 April 2022.

Speaking at the reception marking the landing of the Equiano Sea Cable System in Nigeria on Thursday at the Open Access Data Centre at Lekki in Lagos, Governor Sanwo-Olu said the new cable system is the latest element in the transformation of the physical infrastructure landscape, new roads, bridges, jetties, factories, municipal and national rail lines, among others being delivered by his administration and a host of partners and stakeholders across public and private sectors.

The landing of Equiano Sea Cable System will firmly position Nigeria as the regional connectivity and content hub for West Africa, attracting cloud operators, content providers, content distribution networks and their associated ecosystems.

Speaking at the event, Juliet Ehimuan, Director, West Africa at Google said: “Google is committed to supporting Africa’s digital transformation and we are excited to see the impact of the landing of Equiano in Nigeria.  We’ve worked with established partners and in-country experts to guarantee that Equiano has the greatest potential effect in Nigeria and throughout Africa.”

“Equiano is set to make an enduring contribution towards the development of Nigeria’s communications infrastructure and today marks another major step in its development. We look forward to honouring our commitment to be part of Africa’s digital transformation,” Ehimuan added.

Chris Wood, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of WIOCC, also described the landing of the submarine cables as a major investment in the Nigerian digital economy.

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A cross section of dignitaries at the event

| A cross section of dignitaries at the event

The new cable system is named after a Nigerian hero, Olaudah Equiano, who survived enslavement in the 18th century and went on to become a famous writer and anti-slavery activist. Besides, the triumph over challenges, which Equiano’s life symbolised, the landing of the cable in Nigeria is expected to underscore Nigeria’s leadership as a regional hub for connectivity, and thus, set to attract cloud operators, content providers, content distribution networks and their associated ecosystems.

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