In the recently passed 2016 budget of the federal government of Nigeria by the National Assembly, over 892 federal government entities are to spend N3.424 billion on internet connectivity, its had been gathered.
According to investigations, this figure does not include the many interventions by donors such as NITDA, NCC, CBN, PTDF, and others that are not reflected in the Federal Budget. This is also separate from the N3 billion provided in the service wide vote for “Funding of Galaxy Backbone Infrastructure,” Galaxy Backbone is the government-backed “Internet Service Provider”.
Reacting to the development Dewole Ajao, operations manager, Bandwidth Consortium, he has had a front-row seat in the evolution of Internet connectivity in Nigeria for about fifteen years, said that assuming the best intentions by all persons involved in the retail purchase of Internet access for the Federal Government’s 892 entities, the amount of N3.424 billion will buy a total of about 4,076Mbps (Megabits per second) dedicated Internet bandwidth for a year. This comes to an average of 4.5Mbps per federal government entity.
“Because corporate Internet connectivity is prepaid monthly/quarterly/annually and the actual users are mostly ignorant of the terms and conditions, network operators easily get away with frequent service outages and degradation. Very few Nigerians are aware that they can penalize network operators for poor quality of service. Too many people just drop their shoulders in despair and accept frequent Internet service failure as a part of life. If every major customer were to be like me and run automated systems that keep evidence of service availability and quality to enable administration of penalties against network operators, many service providers will sit up and provide better services,” he explained.
According to him, ‘sadly, rather than deal with the underlying issues, the Nigerian customer will move to a new operator and grant a one year lease of life to another rubbish service provider with a sweet-mouthed smooth-talking sales team.
Since the demise of the national telephone carrier NITEL, Nigeria has not had reliable national data communication infrastructure. Failure to support the use of creative ad-hoc solutions has further led to an over dependence on Internet service providers. This over-dependence means that despite the workforce that you are spending billions of naira to maintain, you are back to zero connectivity the moment you are unable to pay the rental bills.’
He noted that without being the Federal Government of Nigeria, any organization could join forces with like-minded organizations to become wholesale joint-venture buyers that get wholesale benefits rather than retail restrictions.
“If you are unable to coordinate such a joint-venture on your own, you can join an existing one like the Bandwidth Consortium which has served the purposes of members (mostly in Research and Education) for over 10 years.