The Nigerian government has approved a new initiative to extend fibre infrastructure to the 19 states in Northern Nigeria.
The project, tagged the National Information Communications Technology Infrastructure Backbone, NICTIB II, aims to improve broadband infrastructure in the Northern parts of Nigeria.
The Managing Director, Galaxy Backbone, GBB, Professor, Mohammed Abubakar explained that this particular backbone infrastructure will move from Abuja to Plateau, Gombe, Bauchi, Maiduguri, Kano and the rest of Northwestern Nigeria.
Galaxy Backbone, an agency within the ministry of communications and the digital economy, is the digital infrastructure provider of the federal government. Its aim is to develop and implement a national Internet and data infrastructure for public and private institutions.
Though it is fully owned by the federal government, it operates as a limited liability company.
The NICTIB II is the second phase of its National fibre project which has been ongoing around Nigeria.
According to Abubakar, the first phase — NICTIB I — came from Lagos to some parts of the South-South (Port-Harcourt and Calabar), South-East (Enugu), and North Central (Markurdi, Nassarawa, and Abuja).
With the second phase, the project is expected to extend to 19 more states in the country.
This approval comes 2 years after Nigeria’s Galaxy backbone Limited signed a memorandum of understanding (Mou) with China’s Huawei technologies Limited in 2018. As part of the agreement, China’s EXIM bank provided a $328 million (126.7 billion) credit facility to develop the NICTIB Phase II.
Though not much has been said of the project since then, this approval comes at a telling time for Internet connectivity in Nigeria. Deepening Internet infrastructure in Nigeria has been tough, but that might soon be changing.
Several states are having been crashing right of way charges for private Internet infrastructure providers, Lagos is building its own Internet fibre project, and other ICT related policies are being developed.
For Northern Nigeria, this initiative if executed rightly, might bode well or innovation in the region.