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Broadband in West Africa


Prior to the coming of MainOne,as an undersea cable operator in 2010, West Africa’s broadband market was characterized by the slow and exasperating access to the cyberspace. Though the Nigerian vibrant telecommunications market had recorded significant milestones in terms of nominal growth and voice service uptake, following liberalization in 2001, the broadband industry at the time was witnessing a severe downturn in fortunes. Many cyber-cafes and notable Internet Service Providers were closing up shop owing to the high cost of international bandwidth capacity, amplified by harsh operating environment and challenging business models. In less than five years, MainOne has changed the face of Broadband in West Africa and has been a catalyst for the growth of broadband in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy by GDP, and other West African countries.
MainOne has invested over $300 million in broadband infrastructure, and has committed to invest an additional $300 million in deepening broadband penetration across West Africa with infrastructure and data centers. The investments in broadband infrastructure was ploughed into the deployment of the firm’s state-of-the art 7, 000 kilometer submarine cable from Europe to West Africa. In the first year of operations, MainOne cut down the price of wholesale international bandwidth capacity by 50 percent. The launch of MainOne’s broadband services in West Africa fostered the re-birth of Internet Service Providers across West Africa including Swift Networks, Smile, Spectranet, Cobranet, IPNX, Surfline and Blu Telecoms.
To date, there has been a 100 percent increase in number of Internet Users in Nigeria since 1 July 2010, according to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Data from Renesys, a global broadband ntelligence company, shows that MainOne is the foremost Internet Protocol (IP) provider in the West African region, with majority of the internet traffic coming out of West Africa on its network. Recent announcement by Google that 10million Nigerians came on the internet for the first time, in 2014 is attributable to MainOne’s efforts in broadband penetration.
With MainOne’s investments in broadband infrastructure expansion, he company is well positioned as a digital game-changer in the anticipated economic boom from frontier markets such as Nigeria and Ghana, especially as Internet of Things evolves. MainOne actively supports the social entrepreneurship and start-up community by powering technology incubation hubs, including CCHub, 440ng, Andela, Hackerspace amongst others and is facilitating the growth of electronic commerce in Nigeria, which is quite evident with the huge successes recorded by the likes of Konga.com, PagaTech, IrokoTV, Wakanow and DealDey, to mention but a few.

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