By Francis Ogbuagu, Benin City
The Chief Executive Officer of MainOne Cable Company, Funke Opeke, has said that the investment by Facebook and MainOne in broadband network infrastructure in Edo State is as a result of the government ease of doing business reforms and commitment to boosting productivity through technology.
MainOne has been laying fibre cables across the state since November last year, in what is seen as a major step to firm up the state’s burgeoning technology ecosystem, after the launch of the Edo Innovation Hub.
Noting that the investment is part of the 750km open-access fibre infrastructure in Nigeria implemented with MainOne, she said, “The overarching focus for Facebook is improving internet connectivity and empowering partner operators such as MainOne with the tools to build networks to connect more people.
“With our partnership with Facebook, we have invested in building new infrastructure in states like Ogun and Edo that is open-access and can be used by all operators. You may recall that the major challenge impeding broadband proliferation in Nigeria is the limited access to distribution infrastructure to get the abundant internet capacity available in submarine cables on the Nigerian shoreline in Lagos to the hinterland.”
She said that the leadership in Edo State prioritises technology development, which is why the project was able to scale through in the state.
According to her, “Our work brings our team in contact with the leadership in many of the states. These particular states have leadership that is promoting the development of technology ecosystems and job creation in their states. When we had the opportunity to engage and share with them our capabilities and accomplishments on previous projects in places such as the deployment of fibre infrastructure for Silicon Yaba with CCHub, the deployment of Express Wi-Fi with Tizeti in Lagos as well as our aspirations for pervasive broadband everywhere in Nigeria, they welcomed us to build infrastructure in their states.
“The Edo State government has prioritised technology as one of the cardinal pillars of the ongoing reform agenda in the state, introducing ICT-compliant pedagogy in primary schools; building the Edo Innovation Hub, where school leavers and graduates undergo beginner and advanced training in technology, as well as revamping technical education to increase productivity. The duo of Governors Godwin Obaseki and Ibikunle Amosun have identified ICT as critical themes for the transformation of their states and have been supportive of our fibre expansions.”