25 internet service providers (ISPs) across the country have decided to come together to form an alliance to build a broadband network in all the major cities of Nigeria. The consortium, NAIJAWiFi, called on the government of President Umaru Yar Adua to urgently declare a ‘state of broadband emergency’, claiming that ‘broadband connectivity remains the key to unlock the nations potentials and accelerate economic growth’.
The consortium applauded the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on its broadband initiatives. ‘The declaration of 2007 as the year of broadband, the NCC State Accelerated Broadband Initiative, the WIN project, and its excellent frequency and broadband plan as unveiled at the national broadband workshop, clearly shows the Commission is on the path to history once more. The consortium also appreciates the effort of the Federal government with the launch of NIGCOMSAT 1, which would definitely impact positively on the broadband path,’ said Ndukwe Kalu, CEO of Amsco Telecoms and spokesman for the the NAIJAWiFi consortium, which is made up of ISPs with operations in 30 Nigerian states. ‘We do not discriminate as the consortium is open to the big and small and from any part of the country,’ said Kalu. ‘Our foundational belief is that any city can be Nigeria’s Silicon Valley.’
The consortium’s plan is to build a network across 47 cities of Nigeria, covering all state capitals and other key cities, a clear departure from the usual Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja deployments. The project is estimated to swallow over NGN5 billion (USD39.9 million), and has the backing of local financiers. The consortium is also talking to international financial groups. Members of NAIJAWiFi include Amsco Telecoms, Siotel, Linkserve, Acet Technology, Acti Tech, Afrione, Amdifol, AS Technologies, Best Communications, Blue Topaz, Cobranet, CyberGold, Falmur Communications, I-Net Global, NOVA, Juninet, Kidacom, Orbit Infolinks, SITL, Spaceway, Steineng, Swift Talk, WebOnLan, WorldWeb and Zeccon.