Business a.m. Reporter
Ahead of the landing of Meta’s 2Africa undersea cable in Lagos and Akwa Ibom states, the country’s telecommunications industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has told the American multinational company it would provide regulatory support to ease its operation as part of its broad support to all investors who play by the rules and regulations guiding the sector.
A Meta delegation led by Kojo Boakye, vice president for Africa, the Middle-East and Turkey, meeting with Aminu Maida, executive vice chairman and chief executive officer of NCC, was told in the clearest of terms by Maida that Nigeria was open for business with investors, especially in the telecoms sector, who respond positively to Nigeria’s desire for investments that promote the agenda of government to achieve a robust digital economy.
Maida said the NCC places a lot of premium on compliance to industry laws, regulations and guidelines, in the understanding that “such will also engender a level-playing field for all licensees and other stakeholders in the industry for sustaining a healthy competition and guaranteeing a sustainable growth in the Nigerian telecoms sector.”
The Boakye-led Meta (formerly Facebook) delegation who met with Maida at NCC’s headquarters in Abuja, were told regulatory support was available to all investors, including operators in Nigeria, but that such a support was predicated on being law abiding.
A statement by the NCC and signed by Reuben Muoka, its director of public affairs, further disclosed that Boakye informed Maida that the purpose of the visit was to congratulate him on his appointment by President Bola Tinubu, and to also intimate him of ongoing efforts to land 2Africa Cable in Nigeria.
Boakye explained that the 2Africa submarine cable, at 45,000 kilometres long, will be one of the world’s largest subsea cable projects, adding that it will interconnect Europe (eastward via Egypt), Asia (via Saudi Arabia), and Africa.
According to Muoka, Boakye told the NCC chief that the system will go live in 2023, delivering more than the total combined capacity of all subsea cables currently serving Africa, with a design capacity of up to 180 terabytes per second (Tbps).
According to the statement, Boakye disclosed that 2Africa will deliver much-needed Internet capacity and reliability across large parts of Africa, supplement the fast-growing capacity demand in the Middle East and underpin further growth of 4G, 5G and fixed broadband access for billions of people, especially in Nigeria.
To smoothen the path of 2Africa submarine cable, Muoka said in the statement that Boakye solicited NCC’s support in sailing through all necessary legal and regulatory hurdles in landing the submarine cable to complement existing backbone infrastructure in Nigeria.
Boakye was also quoted as saying that Meta, through a consortium, plans to land 2Africa cable simultaneously in Lagos and Akwa-Ibom states “in order to ensure those not yet connected are connected while those already connected are given opportunity for enhanced and affordable access.”