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NCC, ASCON meet on country’s Submarine Cable Assets protection



The transformative benefits of having broadband available to all are clear

In trying to find lasting solutions to the challenges militating against the provision of ubiquitous broadband internet services in the country, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC has seen the protection of the submarine cable segment of the telecommunications sector, as a major priority.

And so, the commission said it has struck a deal with the Association of Submarine Cable Operators of Nigeria (ASCON) to properly ensure the Protection of Submarine Cable Assets, in line with their importance as critical national infrastructure, in Nigeria.

The commission said the agreement was reached on Wednesday, in Abuja, when the Commission hosted the management of ASCON to seek areas of collaboration., gathered that at the meeting, President of ASCON, Ifeloju Alakija, noted that the world has migrated from a satellite communication backbone of international connectivity to an era where over 95% of transoceanic traffic is via submarine optic fiber cables, and emphasized the need for Nigeria to join the train.

He described submarine fiber optic cables as vital communication infrastructure that are of strategic importance to ubiquitous broadband provision and digital transformation.

He said: “The transformative benefits of having broadband available to all are clear, and the range includes: improved communications delivery, improved health services delivery, the better proliferation of agricultural best practices, improved learning opportunities through online and cheaper self-driven education, better community and civic engagement, improved trade & commerce, as well increased job creation leading to greater economic growth, economic development and GDP. ”

According to the ASCON President, the protection of optic fiber cables is of paramount importance, and Nigeria as a nation must pay attention to the protection of its submarine optic fiber infrastructure that connects Nigeria with the rest of the world to ensure their continued availability.

He informed that ASCON was established to promote, encourage and assist in the protection of subsea cable infrastructure and ancillary equipment and facilities from marine activities, man-made and natural hazards, as assuring that the association would encourage, support and manage governmental and public/private sector collaboration, to ensure that the operations and maintenance of critical subsea communications assets are adequately protected and recognized in the development of rules and policies in Nigeria.

In addition, he informed that ASCOM conducts checks on unapproved new pipeline installation, unguided maintenance of the pipeline, revamping of unused to stem illegal activities in the sector.

Also, he said the association seeks to educate fishing industry about the importance of submarine cables, and how their activities impact cables, and to encourage the use of safer fishing practices, help the shipping industry to be aware of the risk of dragging anchors whilst underway or dropping anchors along cable routes, as well as make appropriate recommendations.

Responding, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, represented by the director of special duties, Mr Oluwatoyin Yusuf, told the ASCON delegation that the Commission was aware of the importance of submarine cable.

He noted that the Commission has licensed six infra cos across different zones of the country to aid broadband penetration and encouraged them to engage other stakeholders adding that the issue of broadband is a major national discourse.

While promising to partner with ASCON, the NCC boss assured the visitors that the Commission will work in line with its mandate to ensure that marine cables are effectively deployed. He advised them to ensure the cables go beyond Lagos to other parts of the country.


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