Nigerian incumbent NITEL is said to have paid NGN63 million (USD507,500) for a synchronous transport module (STM-1) on the SAT-3 undersea cable system, which spans a total of 28,000km and directly connects 15 countries in Africa, Europe and Asia. The STM-1 is a basic rate of transmission on the fibre-optic cable with a bitrate of 155.52Mbps. NITEL is a major provider of bandwidth for PTOs and ISPs in Nigeria. A technical officer for the telco told reporters that the first STM-1 it acquired in 2002 had been exhausted, due to rising demand for bandwidth. NITEL paid more than NGN6 billion for a 7.33% stake when the cable was lit in 2001, giving it access to bandwidth after paying a fixed amount to UK telco Cable & Wireless (C&W) who manage the cable system. In April this year, C&W threatened to cut NITEL off from the supply of bandwidth over an accumulated debt of around USD4 million, but backed down following negotiations with NITEL’s parent Transcorp.