The arrival of Google’s Equiano submarine cable in Lagos, Nigeria, was announced.
The subsea cable, which will provide fifth-generation (5G) mobile service, will run from Portugal to Togo, Nigeria, Namibia, South Africa, and Saint Helena, connecting Europe to Togo, Nigeria, Namibia, South Africa, and Saint Helena.
Juliet Ehimuan, director of Google West Africa, said in a statement that the Equiano would be the first subsea cable to incorporate optical switching at the fibre-pair level, rather than the traditional approach of wavelength-level switching.
“This greatly simplifies the allocation of cable capacity, allowing us to add and reallocate it as needed in different locations,” she explained.
The Equiano submarine is not Nigeria’s first. In the country, there are about five subsea internet cables from major companies such as MainOne, MTN, and Globacom.
Nigeria also intends to build a 5G network to improve connectivity, with the goal of connecting at least 1 billion devices across the country.
The arrival of the Equiano submarine cable promises to transform the internet experience for the country’s over 200 million people and businesses in a variety of ways.
With the planned deployment of 5G in Nigeria, the Google submarine cable guarantees a significant increase in Internet speed. According to a Google document, internet speed would increase from 14Mbps to 77Mbps.
According to Google, the subsea cable is a cutting-edge infrastructure based on space-division multiplexing (SDM) technology, with approximately 20 times the network capacity of the previous cable built to serve this region.
“The arrival of Equiano in Nigeria is expected to result in faster internet speeds and significantly improved online experiences.” “Internet speeds in Nigeria are expected to nearly six-fold by 2025, while retail internet prices are expected to fall by 21% during the same period,” Ehimuan added.
Nigeria has been attempting to digitize through the NIN-SIM policy, but progress has been slow. Such efforts are expected to be aided by the Equiano submarine cable.
Startups in Nigeria have produced five unicorns in the last five years (startups valued at over a billion dollars).
“Businesses are also benefiting significantly from the use of internet platforms,” she said, predicting that “total e-commerce annual expenditure will rise to $75 billion by 2025, up from its current projection of $12 billion.”
According to Ehimuan, the Nigerian government has been actively working on digital transformation programs as part of its plans to grow domestic sectors since 2017. These initiatives have been critical to the success of many industries in the country, particularly the startup sector.
Google recently began implementing a 7.5 percent VAT charge for its Nigerian customers. It also intends to assist YouTube content creators in monetising their skills in order to alleviate unemployment.
In effect, this would help Nigeria’s economic diversification plans and increase the contribution of technology to the country’s GDP (GDP).
“By 2025, real GDP in Nigeria is expected to be USD 10.1 billion higher than it would have been without Equiano, and the cable is expected to indirectly generate roughly 1.6 million new jobs between 2022 and 2025,” Ehimuan added, citing a Google study.
“We are collaborating with a number of key telecom players, including our landing party, the West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC),” says the company.