Brymedia West Africa bids to build overland fibre cable from Nigeria to Tunisia

Internet

One of the firms bidding to take-over NITEL and MTel is planning to build an overland cable from Katsina to Tunisia, Daily Trust learnt last week. A source said that Brymedia West Africa Limited intends to construct the overland cable with a 30 fibre pairs instead of the 2 pairs of SAT-3. The cable will pass through Niger.

The source said the overland cable would pass through two countries instead 13 countries. This will be achieved with the aid of tails to be laid into all the land-locked countries like Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali.

Sources close to the project said that Telecom Italia, one of the biggest operators in Europe, has already indicated interest to land the overland cable into mainland Europe. The sources further disclosed that the proposed cable would outperform existing services like SAT-3 and the upcoming Glo One cable many times over.

The source also said that the World Bank recently agreed to sponsor OFC cable in Chad, Central African Republic and that Brymedia Consortium is planning to connect to it. The overland cable is estimated to be half as expensive as SAT-3 or Glo 1, allowing savings to be passed on via lower tariffs to customers. The World Bank recently endorsed the $215 million Central African Backbone programme to bring reliable, high-speed, low-cost internet access to the region. Cameroon, Chad and the Central African Republic will take part in the initial $26.2 million phase.

Congo-Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, and Sudan can also participate in the programme. The 10-year programme is being supported through a partnership between the World Bank Group and the African Development Bank (AfDB). The program also aims to leverage an additional $98 million from the private sector. In conjunction with the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, the African Union Commission will play an important role in facilitating inter-governmental cooperation and policy harmonization.

Brymedia is the project coordinator, bid manager and consortium leader for bidding in the current privatization process for NITEL. Formed in mid-2008 to address the emerging national operator opportunity, the company has assembled a top flight executive team including six of the nine most senior MTN Nigeria leaders from 2001 to 2006.

Daily Trust