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NITDA to MDAs: Hosting Data Outside Nigeria Is Against FG’s Guidelines

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By peter oluka

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) appears to invoke relevant sections of the guidelines regarding hosting of government data, particularly restricting Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) from going offshore to host.

In a statement signed by Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, director general/CEO of the Agency, he also reminded private sector organizations on the need for them to patronize Nigerian Data Centers.

According to Pantami, “The progress made in the adoption and utilization of ICT in both the public and private sectors of the economy makes hosting data and information inevitable. However, it is disheartening to note the current practices of both public and private sector organizationshosting data offshore, despite having highly reliable Tier III Data Centers, certified by various international organizations and guaranteeing almost 100% availability as well as multiple layers of security. Furthermore, hosting data locally guarantees reduction incost and capital flight, digital job creation, increased security, and increase in tax revenues thereby boosting the local economy.

“It may be recalled that Section 14.1 of the Guidelines for Nigerian Content Development in ICT makes it mandatory for Data and Information Management Firms to “Host government data locally within the country and shall not for any reason host any government data outside the country without an express approval from NITDA”.

“Furthermore, as stated in Section 14.3 of the Guidelines, the Agency is working with local data hosting firms to set appropriate service level requirements and standards for data service provisioning,” he said.

Dr. Pantami disclosed that the Office for Nigerian Content Development in ICT (ONC), NITDA’s Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), has been restructured and charged with the responsibility of developing, promoting and monitoring indigenous ICT adoption and utilization. In addition, adequate measures have been put in place to facilitate full compliance with these guidelines.

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is a Federal Government Agency created in April 2001 to implement the Nigerian Information Technology Policy and coordinate general IT development and regulation in the country.

Specifically, Section 6(a & c) of the Act establishing the Agency mandates it to create a framework for the planning, research, development, standardization, application, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and regulation of Information Technology practices, activities and systems in Nigeria; and render advisory services in all information technology matters to the public and private sectors.

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Nigeria Bid for 2 Seats at ITU

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Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, executive vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has formally presented Nigeria’s candidature for re-election into the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) Administrative Council and Mr. William Ijeh’s bid for the position of Director, Telecommunication Development Bureau of ITU.

 

Danbatta made the formal presentation at a dinner organised for Mr. Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary General; other elected officials of the global telecom regulatory body, ministers, chief regulators of member states from across the globe, among other dignitaries.

  Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, executive vice chairman (EVC) and chief executive of NCC Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta

“Ladies and gentlemen, I now formally present to you Nigeria’s twin candidature for re-election into the ITU Administrative Council and Mr. William Ijeh for the position of Director, Telecommunication Development Bureau of the ITU, for your support,” a statement from NCC quoted Prof .Danbatta sa saying .

 

Speaking further, Danbatta noted that Nigeria had a long standing relationship with the ITU and had been contributing in no small way to the activities of the union.

 

 “Nigeria is one of the highest financial contributors to ITU in the African region and also a major player in ITU Telecom World activities for many years. I can assure you that Nigeria will continue to reinforce its cooperation with the ITU,” he stressed.

 

 

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Major boost for telecom services as Glo plans new submarine cable

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In its bid to consolidate its position as the leading company in the Nigerian telecommunication industry, grandmasters of data, Globacom, has kicked-off the construction of a multi-billion naira optic fibre submarine cable which is expected to boost telecom services in Nigeria and West Africa.

 

The new project, named Glo 2, was announced during the formal contract-signing ceremony between Globacom and its partner, Huawei, a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider held at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos on Tuesday

 

Speaking at the event, Mr. Sanjib Roy, Globacom’s Regional Director, Technical, said the submarine cable would be built from Glo 1 landing station, Alpha Beach in Lagos and will run along the coast to the Southern part of Nigeria, adding that it will provide capacity to offshore oil platforms and the communities as well as facilitate ultra-high capacity connection to South-South Region and provide capacity to offshore oil platforms and the communities.

 

“Glo2 will be the first submarine cable in Nigeria to land outside Lagos as the five existing submarine cables only landed in Lagos. Glo 2 will have capacity of 12Terabit per second and will provide ultra-high speed connection to oil platforms and communities to empower data coverage and support Enterprise market growth in this part of Nigeria,” Mr. Roy explained.

 

The Glo Technical Chief explained that the Glo 2 project would provide high speed internet connectivity, thus supporting the oil platforms to improve productivity, upload data to remote oil platforms at the speed of light. In addition, it will also provide economic as well as social empowerment of the communities in oil producing regions through unique telecommunication service delivery.

 

“Glo2 will be the first submarine cable in Nigeria to land outside Lagos as the five existing submarine cables only landed in Lagos. Glo 2 will have capacity of 12Terabit per second and will provide ultra-high speed connection to oil platforms and communities to empower data coverage and support Enterprise market growth in this part of Nigeria,” Mr Roy explained.

 

According to him, Glo 2 is coming on board to support the growth of Nigerian Economy and allow Oil Communities reduce their operational expenditure by providing the first submarine optical fiber dedicated to oil platforms. “It is also designed for further expansion southwards to Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Angola, among others,” he added.

 

Mr. Roy also stated that Glo 2 would facilitate high capacity connections between oil companies’ offices onshore and their offshore locations. “The New submarine cable will be approximately 850 kilometres long and will be named Glo2.  The cable will be integrated to Globacom’s existing terrestrial Backbone Network to provide additional service redundancy”, especially Abuja and other parts of the country.

 

He stated further that the cable would be divided into three pairs, with the first pair connecting Lagos directly to Southern part of Nigeria while for redundancy and maintenance purposes it will also be connected to other parts of the country. The second pair will deliver high capacity to offshore oil stations and communities connected directly to Bus and will be equipped with eight switchable Branching Units. The third pair will deliver high capacity to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea and will be equipped with two (2) switchable Branching Units.

 

Glo2 will support the Glo 1 international submarine cable built by Globacom in 2010.Glo 1 managed exclusively, from Lagos to London, by one Company currently provides sufficient bandwidth for the West Africa sub-region. It is the only international submarine cable in Nigeria.

 

In his remarks, Managing Director of Huawei Nigeria, Mr Li Beifang said that “Huawei is proud to partner with Globacom to build a revolutionary submarine cable using innovative and leading technology. We believe the cable would bring a new era of digitalization to Nigerian economy”.

 

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NCC Withdraws 41m Starcomms, Zoom Mobile, Others Numbers

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Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has withdrawn 41,095,448 telephone numbers assigned largely to Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operators, effectively sealing the blighted fate of CDMA segment of the telecommunications sector,

 

The withdrawal, took place in the first quarter of this year as part of regulatory efforts to put the country’s National Numbering Plan in order, according to New Telegraph.

 

The numbers withdrawn, which are both fixed and mobile, were those of Starcomms, Zoom Mobile (formerly Reltel), Multi-links, MTS First Wireless, Mobitel Limited, Rainbownet Limited, Odu’a Telecoms Limited, M-Tel and NITEL. However, Visafone, which has since been acquired by leading GSM operator, MTN, still has its numbers active in the National Numbering Plan for the first quarter.

 

As at February this year, the duo of Multi-links and Visafone, even though inactive, still had 217,566 lines connected.

 

While the GSM operators now control 99.7 per cent of the market share, the CDMA operators, though virtually non-existent in terms of infrastructure and physical presence, still have 0.15 per cent market share.

 

Visafone, the last standing CDMA operator, with over two million subscribers in 24 states, was acquired by MTN in 2016.

The deal, which was sanctioned by NCC, allows MTN to utilise Visafone’s 800MHz spectrum to launch fourth generation Long Term Evolution (4GLTE) services. That acquisition, however, marked the end of Visafone’s voice services as MTN was not interested in sustaining the CDMA operation but using its spectrum to enhance its data services.

 

According to NCC’s regulation, the Commission has the power to withdraw numbers allocated to service providers if the numbers are being “used for a service that does not satisfy the applicable usage conditions; no number in the block has been brought into service within twelve (12) months of the grant of the application for the assignment; or the block is needed for advancing a clearly identified national interest.”

 

The rule, however, also ensures that the Commission must notify a licensee about the nature of and the reasons for, a proposal to withdraw a block of numbers at least six (6) months before the withdrawal. “Where the Commission notifies a Licensee about a proposal to withdraw a Block from an Assignment to the Licensee— the Licensee shall not thereafter bring into service any Numbers in the Block unless the Commission informs the Licensee that it has decided not to withdraw the Block,” the rule states.

 

Before the licensing of GSM operators in 2001, the CDMA operators had been the saving grace for Nigerians who had been at the mercy of the Nigerian Telecommunication (NITEL). It was the days the likes of Multi-links and Intercellular were holding the ace. Post-GSM licensing, the CDMA segment also enjoyed a booming market between 2005 and 2006 when Starcomms and Visafone entered into the telecoms market in a big way, with roll-out plans across several cities in Nigeria.

 

This, however, only lasted for a while, as the boom reached its peak in 2007, and a downward trend set in. Since then, many CDMA operators began experiencing hard times in maintaining their subscriber base, not to mention expanding the existing number.

 

 

 

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