Nigeria Engages ITU to Safeguard Submarine Cables and Bolster Global Broadband Access

The Federal Government, in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) headquartered in Geneva, has initiated discussions aimed at coordinating efforts to protect submarine cables and vital digital infrastructure on both regional and global scales.

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, revealed this development, expressing satisfaction with the discussions held with ITU Deputy Secretary-General, Tomas Lamanauskas, in Geneva. Their dialogue underscored the importance of reviewing global laws governing digital infrastructure and involving relevant government and private sector stakeholders in the process.

The discussions also explored investment models for expanding broadband penetration globally, with Nigeria’s Broadband Alliance and Fibre Fund serving as potential benchmarks for other markets worldwide.

Despite these initiatives, recent data from the Nigerian Communications Commission indicates that Nigeria fell short of its broadband penetration target for 2023, as outlined in the National Broadband Plan (2020–2025). Broadband penetration declined to 43.71% by December 2023, down from 47.36% in the same period in 2022.

Minister Tijani emphasized the urgency of enhancing digital infrastructure resilience, especially in light of recent disruptions to submarine cables off the West African coast. These disruptions affected broadband Internet connectivity to Nigeria and neighboring countries, causing operational challenges for various sectors, including banking, telecommunications, and related businesses.

In response to the outage, telecom operators and financial institutions redirected their traffic through alternative service providers to mitigate the impact. Some operators successfully restored services by Tuesday, alleviating internet disruptions after the five-day outage.


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