Nigerian telecoms giant Globacom Limited and Chinese technology solutions conglomerate Huawei Technologies are collaborating on building a new undersea cable infrastructure, which is being billed as a defining milestone in the country’s telecommunications and data service delivery.
Glo-2 is planned to build on the successes of Glo-1, the first and only submarine cable connection between London and Lagos.
Technical partner Huawei with sponsor Globacom revealed plans for this new endeavour Tuesday, April 24, at a signing ceremony in Eko Hotels & Suites, Lagos.
Representatives from the two companies layed out the scope of what is to be an 18-month project, the first of its kind in Nigeria, which would connect Lagos with the southern coastline of Nigeria, and particularly offshore oil platforms, and flow inland onto the network’s existing terrestrial cable backbone spread across the country.
Globacom executive Folu Adebigbe described the multibillion naira project as a “comprehensive upscaling of the Globacom network through the construction of Glo-2 submarine optic fibre cable.”
With over 34 million subscribers, the Glo network is Nigeria’s second most subscribed network, and the first in terms of being a wholly Nigerian-owned multinational spread across four West African countries.
Having already upgraded Glo-1’s terrestrial network in Nigeria and the UK to 100Gbps per channel, the partners say they plan that by the end of May the infrastructure would support a maximum data capacity of 16Tbps from Nigeria to the United Kingdom.
With Glo-2, Huawei, at the cutting edge of networking, telecommunications equipment, and data services, the newly constructed submarine cables will be landing outside Lagos.
According to Sanjib Roy, Globacom’s regional director of technical operations, this would represent a “quantum leap in building the voice and data communication infrastructure in Nigeria.”
When complete and online, the cable will contain three fiber pairs: one connecting Lagos directly undersea to the southern coastal waters of Nigeria with extension inland to existing terrestrial backbone cables; another with 8 branching units to offshore oil stations and communities; and the third with 2 switchable branching units further southwards to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea.
Glo revealed that the increased gains in internet speed, data and voice capacities would essentially make Nigeria the foremost data services hub on the continent, with advantages for oil exploration information flows and enterprise customers plugging into the improved services.
Asked about the cost of this singularly ambitious construction project, Aderibigbe deferred to the generality of a vague “multibillion” price tag, with no specific figure – only suggesting that no cost has been spared in seeing the work through to the end.
Huawei’s Li Shaowei said the project would double both as national economic investment and incentive for existing and new businesses in the country relying on fast, reliable and effective data connectivity.
With the 18-month wait time between contract and completion, Glo-2 may very well be the great leap forward in terms of data network performance, if the amount of resources and fanfare both multinationals are dedicating to the operation is anything to go by.