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Fixed Broadband – The Next Big Thing for Nigeria

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By: Rajiv Aggarwal

Nigeria urgently needs rapid rollout of broadband services to address the country’s various socio-economic challenges.

Fixed Broadband – The Next Big Thing for Nigeria

Rajiv Aggarwal, Head of CEWA Market Unit at Nokia

With a population estimated at about 203 million people, 23 percent of the overall population is currently unemployed.

Furthermore, 55 percent of the country’s youth are unemployed, which presents a massive challenge considering that over half the population is under the age of 25.

According to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the country’s broadband penetration as at June 2021 stood at is 39.9 per cent with a broadband subscriptions figure of 76.29 million.

Therefore, the country is faced with the tremendous challenge of puttingits largely unemployed and underemployed population to work.

Addressing Nigeria’s socio-economic challenges

The rapid rollout of broadband services will address various socio-economic challenges faced by the country, including the need to grow its economy, job creation, expansion of the tax base, and improving digital literacy and educational standards.

This will also address identity management and security challenges through the effective use of technology, increase financial inclusion and deliver a broad range of services to its people to improve their quality of life and work towards achieving the UN’s 2030Social Development Goals.

The new Broadband Plan is designed to deliver data download speeds across Nigeria of a minimum of 25Mbps in urban areas, and 10Mbps in rural areas, with effective coverage available to at least 90% of the population by 2025 at a price not more than N390 per 1GB of data.

The Broadband Plan will drive increased fibre connectivity in schools, healthcare facilities, government buildings and towers, amongst others.

Notably, a large traffic volume within the middle mile networks is still backhauled using microwave equipment today.

While this type of backhaul was adequate for narrow-band voice communications, it is no longer adequate for the effective delivery of bandwidth-intensive broadband applications driving current demand.

The need to make fibre-optics the de-facto means of backhauling traffic within middle-mile networks, for the effective deployment of broadband networks, cannot be overemphasized.

Last-mile connectivity in Nigeria is also largely mobile with comparatively lower investments made in fixed-line infrastructure within the past two decades.

There is therefore a need for improvement in last-mile connectivity for increased adoption.

More submarine cable access will become available as new players such as the 2Africa Consortium extend broadband cable branches to Nigeria, boosting broadband penetration across the country.

The consortium recently announced the addition of four new branches to the 2Africa cable, which will extend 2Africa’s connectivity to the Seychelles, the Comoros Islandsand Angola; and bring a new landing to South-east Nigeria.

The role of fibre and fixed wireless access

To date, fibre density in Nigeria remains particularly low with approximately 10% of base stations connected to fibre and most of the fibre networks overbuilt on the same routes.

The continued reliance on narrowband microwave links remains a limiting factor in terms of aggregate capacity and stability of mobile networks especially in a challenging electricity supply environment.

Denser metro fibre networks will also provide the essential building blocks for future Fibre-To-The-X networks. In addition, the massive development in the real estate sector of the economy with several ‘’gated communities ‘’ being built in cities like Lagos, Abuja, Kano, PHC, Ibadan are also fuelling broadband adoption in Nigeria.

Fibre access is considered the biggest and fastest growing technology with the largest eco-system of players that includes fixed and converged operators, governments, cities, utilities, enterprises, and infrastructure investors.

Fibre access networks are becoming the unifying infrastructure that underpins the entire telecom industry, connecting everyone to everything.

The COVID pandemic has highlighted the “digital divide” and the importance of broadband connectivity worldwide.

New and more powerful fixed networks are therefore needed to increase speeds and improve the user experience.

While fibre remains a preferred choice, it can be expensive, time consuming, and challenge to serve homes and businesses.

To address the broadband need in underserved rural and suburban markets where the economics of FTTH is too cost-prohibitive, fixed wireless access (FWA) is seen as a good substitute via 4G and 5G to enable high-speed broadband.

With expanding network capacity afforded by 5G and new sub-6 GHz and millimeter wave spectrum, more and more operators see FWA as a complement to their “fibre plus FWA” broadband strategy.

The fixed wireless access (FWA) market continues to expand, with the underlying broadband demand arguably accelerated by the COVID pandemic.

The market growth is supported and fuelled by robust product innovations.

It is therefore important to keep pushing the boundaries of fixed technology and make sure the investments in fixed networks made today will be usable for many years to come to meet the inevitable growth in demand for faster, more responsive, and immersive internet services.

Fibre broadband investment enables a premium customer experience, competitive advantage, the lowest operational costs (OPEX), and the lowest power consumption of any broadband technology, with the additional opportunity of service convergence (residential, enterprise and 5G transport).

As a major global equipment vendor with a leading set of Fixed Access technologies, Nokia partners with fixed, converged, mobile and cable operators to deliver extraordinary Gigabit broadband services and enable them to address the unprecedented demands on their networks today.

Our ability to take our customers beyond the network termination point and deliver gigabit broadband throughout the home is another strength, especially with the increased data consumption associating the pandemic.

Fixed broadband will enable Nigerian Service Providers to provide faster speeds and better coverage to customers while achieving the price points highlighted in the Nigeria Broadband Plan.

The use of passive fibre networks along with a shared infrastructure model will greatly reduce the costs of deployment while maximizing the Capex investment.

Fibre not only ensures the speeds of today, but that the capacity needed tomorrow can be met.

Fixed broadband and fibre not only ensure faster download speeds for end users on fibre, but can also serve as an anchor point for densification of mobile networks as well serving as a connection point for wireless access points and even cell towers in some instances.

All of this translates to greater broadband penetration in Nigeria and increased services and benefits for CSPs and their end customers.

As part of the 2Africa Consortium, Nokia is facilitating increased fibre deployments in Nigeria.

Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), a division of Nokia that has been selected to deploy the new branches, which will increase the number of 2Africa landings to 35 in 26 countries, further improving connectivity into and around Africa including Nigeria.

Nokia also provides GPON solutions to several providers in Nigeria, thereby increasing fixed broadband speeds using FTTH.

One of the examples is that Nokia is providing Spectranet, Nigeria’s largest Internet Service Provider, with its GPON solution and enabling 100+ Mbps ultra-broadband services to end users in Lagos and Abuja as part of an extensive Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) rollout.

This kind of deployments with Nokia’s superior fixed network technologies, in turn, enables Nigerian Service Providers to offer up to 1Gbps speeds to end customers using passive fibre connections.

Rajiv Aggarwal, Head of CEWA Market Unit at Nokia


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WhatsApp to Deactivate Support for Certain Phone Models over Incompatibility

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WhatsApp has announced that it will no longer be supported on a variety of phone models starting from the summer of 2024.


WhatsApp to Deactivate Support for Certain Phone Models over Incompatibility

This decision affects a significant number of devices from popular brands such as Samsung, Motorola, Huawei, Apple, Sony, and LG.

Users are advised to check the list of incompatible devices to determine whether their phones are affected and whether they need to upgrade to continue using WhatsApp securely.

Surprisingly, some of the models on the list are quite old, but due to their decent hardware or lack of upgrade options, some users have been clinging onto WhatsApp for dear life.

At present, WhatsApp is recommending that users only use the app if they have a device running on Android 5.0 or later, or an iPhone with iOS 12 or newer.

The affected models include popular devices like Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus, Motorola Moto G, and various iPhone models like 5, 6, and SE.

This development highlights the rapid evolution of technology and the need for users to stay current with their devices to access essential services like WhatsApp.

As we move towards a more advanced digital age, it becomes increasingly crucial for users to regularly check for updates and ensure compatibility with the latest software and applications.

In light of WhatsApp’s decision to discontinue support for certain phone models, there are several key points that users should be aware of regarding this future incompatibility issue.

One of the main challenges associated with WhatsApp ceasing support for older phone models is the potential security risks involved.

Unsupported devices may become more vulnerable to security threats as they will no longer receive essential updates and patches from WhatsApp.

Additionally, users who are unable or unwilling to upgrade their devices may face difficulties in communicating with friends and family who continue to use WhatsApp.

On the controversial side, some users argue that tech companies should provide support for older devices to ensure inclusivity and accessibility for all users, regardless of their device’s age or specifications.

However, from WhatsApp’s perspective, maintaining support for outdated models may hinder the app’s ability to innovate and introduce new features that require more advanced hardware.


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Glo Deploys AI Services for Customers to Earn Millions while Learning

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Digital solutions services provider, Globacom, has unveiled three innovative AI-focused services that aim to improve customer satisfaction and provide users the chance to profit from AI and win rewards on the network at the same time.

In addition to offering users the possibility to win thrilling rewards through lottery draws, Globacom disclosed in a press statement that the services would offer priceless insights into utilizing AI for everyday requirements.

One of the services, called “Glo Awoof Win EverWage,” is a gaming platform that gives users the chance to either win a lifetime wage or take part in a monthly draw that offers a N12 million prize.

Subscribers will also get regular payments from this service, thus having a steady source of income free from the limitations of a conventional job. Globacom stated that Glo EverWage “promises peace of mind in today’s dynamic economic environment, whether you seek supplementary income or financial stability.”

Subscribers can participate in the drawings for EverWage by calling *20791# and following the instructions to be eligible for a chance to win N12 million per month and daily cash prizes.

In a similar vein, “Glo Awoof Win SMS-to-Ai” uses artificial intelligence (AI) to give users rapid, precise information on any subject without requiring an internet connection.

The “Ask AI by Glo” service is an SMS-based platform that provides users with access to a variety of informational resources, including news, sports scores, weather predictions, traffic updates, educational advice, and celebrity information. By dialing *20791# on their handsets, subscribers can also take part in the network’s jackpot draws for a chance to win thrilling prizes.

Subscribers can also use Glo SMS-to-AI to ask queries even in the absence of internet access, by texting their inquiries to 20791 and the AI platform will respond to them right away. Regular questioners will be informed through their Glo lines and have a chance to win interesting rewards.

The third one, “Glo Awoof Win Ai Fortune”, is an educational service designed to empower users by teaching them how to leverage Ai for generating income and improving business processes.

“From foundational Ai concepts to advanced business strategies, our comprehensive curriculum equips you with the skills to harness Ai for income generation and business enhancement. Subscribers can engage in interactive learning modules, earn certifications, and showcase their expertise in monthly competitions”, the company disclosed.

Subscribers to AI Fortune can obtain study packets to read and enter to win prizes by dialling *20791# and following the instructions.

According to Globacom, users who want to take advantage of the three AI-powered services should dial *20791# on their mobile devices in order to choose among the available options. Daily one-time or auto subscriptions to the services cost N100, weekly one-time or auto subscriptions cost N200, and monthly one-time or auto subscriptions cost N500.


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Y’ello Care since ‘07: 17 Years of Unwavering Commitment to Community Development

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For nearly two decades, MTN has demonstrated a steadfast dedication to community development through its flagship corporate social responsibility initiative, Y’ello Care.

The annual program with the theme “Learn Today, Lead Tomorrow”, now celebrating its 17th year, exemplifies the telco’s commitment to making a positive impact across the various communities it serves.

Launched in 2007, Y’ello Care has evolved into one of the most significant corporate volunteer programs in the telecommunications sector. Each year, employees take time off from their daily tasks to give back to the community and participate in meaningful charitable initiatives, reflecting the company’s fundamental principles of innovation, leadership, and integrity.

The heart of Y’ello Care lies in its volunteers. MTN employees from different departments and regions come together to contribute their time, skills, and resources. This culture of volunteerism not only benefits the communities but also fosters a sense of purpose and camaraderie among its staff.

Since its inception, the Y’ello Care initiative has tackled various social challenges, from education and health to environmental sustainability and economic empowerment. The program’s success is measured by the number of projects completed and the lasting positive changes it brings to the lives of individuals and communities.

Speaking about this year’s edition, Tobe Okigbo, Chief Corporate Services & Sustainability Officer, MTN Nigeria, said “Y’ello Care is about the MTN ecosystem giving back and contributing their time, money, and resources to make a positive impact. This year, we’re focusing on education in remote areas, supporting three projects that will provide access to quality education for young Nigerians,” said

One of the cornerstones of Y’ello Care this year is its focus on education and this year the initiative is supporting the KNOSK charity education initiative (Study Better Packs),building and refurbishing Iwerekun Community High school, providing learning materials, and organizing vocational skills workshops. These efforts aim at bridging the educational gap and equipping students with the skills needed for the future.

Also, Y’ello Care has made significant contributions to improving healthcare services. Through medical outreach programs, health awareness campaigns, and the provision of essential medical equipment, it has helped enhance the quality of healthcare in underserved areas.

Beyond everything,

As Y’ello Care completesits 17th year, the company further proves its committment to deepening its impact on its community. MTN Nigeria’s unwavering commitment to community development through the Y’ello Care initiative is a testament to the power of corporate social responsibility.

The 17-year journey of Y’ello Care tells a remarkable story of dedication, impact, and hope. It serves as an inspiration for other organizations to engage in meaningful community service and underscores the importance of giving back to the society in which they operate.

 

 

 


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