Nigeria to receive Google’s subsea cable this month, says NCC

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says the country will receive Google’s subsea cable, Equiano, before the end of April.

Ikechukwu Adinde, NCC director of public affairs, disclosed this in a statement issued on Thursday after Google Global Services Nigeria paid a courtesy visit to the commission.

According to the statement, NCC said Google expressed determination to work together with the commission toward advancing the actualisation of universal broadband access and promoting the country’s digital transformation policy.

Receiving the Google delegation, Umar Danbatta, executive vice-chairman, NCC, said the commission looked forward to making the initiatives of both parties more impactful by enhancing cooperation between the NCC and Google Nigeria for quantifiable and remarkable impact.

Danbatta was represented by Ubale Maska, executive commissioner, technical services (ECTS).

Danbatta said he is optimistic that Google’s investment in the subsea cable, Equiano, which is expected to arrive in Nigeria by end of April 2022, will be more impactful in driving country’s broadband.

“I am hopeful that Equiano will have additional landing points in the hinterlands through collaborative efforts with the licensed Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) to reduce retail data prices significantly and thereby complementing the commission’s efforts at ensuring affordable Internet services are available to boost the commission’s ongoing broadband policy drive,” he said.

On her part, Juliet Ehimuan, Director, Google West Africa, commended the commission for its consultative approach in formulating regulatory policies.

Ehimuan applauded the commission for its seamless, fair, credible, impartial and successful auction of the 3.5 Gigahertz spectrum for the deployment of the fifth-generation (5G) in Nigeria, stating that it is evident that both the NCC and Google share a common goal.

She said the demands for internet services have increased the need for more capacity, and sustainable collaborations with all relevant stakeholders within the public and private sectors.

“Google’s commitment of $1 billion across five years in various interventions will support digital transformation in Nigeria and across Africa and research has proven that the continent will have an additional 300 million Internet users and Nigeria will lead in that number, given its current statistics of over 141 million internet subscribers and broadband penetration of over 40.88 per cent as at January 2022,” Ehimuan said.

The Equiano cable system is the third private international cable owned by Google and the 14th subsea cable invested by Google. Equiano connects Portugal and South Africa, running along the West Coast of Africa, with branching units along the way that can be used to extend connectivity to more African countries.

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