By Olubunmi Adeniyi
Lagos. February 13, 2013: Mohammed Rudman, Managing Director of Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN) has called on the Federal Government to devise strategies to encourage broadband subsidy to foster growth of high speed internet service that will have a multiplier effect on the nation’s economy.
Looking into the crystal ball for the sustainable growth of the ICT sector in 2013, he says that through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms sector regulator, government should deepen broadband penetration in the country especially in the rural areas.
Rudman told Technology Times in an exclusive interview on Tuesday in Lagos that it is very important for NCC to look into this in order to spread the benefits of the growing number of submarine cable systems on the Nigerian shores across the nook and cranny of Nigeria. This will make not just the urban centres but also to enable the rural communities to have easy and reliable access to internet services at a reasonable price.
Rudman notes that Lagos State, the nation’s commercial centre enjoys more broadband capacity than every other states in Nigeria and therefore urges the regulator to make sure the rural communities are not left out of the digital dividends of the internet.
He reveals it is only Lagos that is connected to the local Internet Exchange Point (IXP) while other locations are yet to be connected because most of the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are hesitant about the initial cost outlay.
“There is so much investment in Lagos in term of Information and Communications Technology (ICT). We have of all the major ISPs in Lagos connected to the exchange point,” he says of the facility that enables service providers to save costs by routing their local traffic within the country.
Inadequate last-mile fibre optic cables are currently hampering the transmission of broadband Internet access to the end users, Rudman says adding that “we are already talking to ISPs in Abuja and Port-Harcourt to take advantage of the benefits comes with direct interconnection.”
Speaking on the benefits to end users and providers, Rudman says the local exchange point is really fast, it is cost effective and also reduce latency.
“The direct connection eliminates the need for data to first travel to London, from one network to another and back to Nigeria. In this case local traffic is exchanged locally, rather than through one or more third party networks, including international links” he adds.
To allay the fear of the ISPs on the additional cost that will be borne by investing in the infrastructure, Rudman urges the NCC to work towards getting to the last-mile by accelerating the roll out of broadband infrastructure in the underserved areas.
According to him, once the broadband infrastructure issue is settled the ISPs would be able to connect to the internet exchange point in their various locations, to provide internet services to homes, offices, schools, business centres, among others.
He laments that, “we don’t have interconnectivity in Nigeria. This is a very important ingredient for local content hosting in the country.”
According to the IXP boss, “When this is addressed, most of the traffic will originate and terminate within the country thus leading to more efficient usage of bandwidth.”
He explains that Google is taking good advantage because the search engine company has seen the fast-growth pace of the Nigerian internet space.
He adds that, “Google is currently connected to the NIXP. When they connected to the exchange point, our traffic jumped and increased by more than 400 per cent.”
Rudman also wants NCC to free up the 4G licences to operators to use them in offering services that ensures seamless communication across the country.