If you are a blogger or own a thriving website and your name is not Olisa Adibua, Linda Ikeji, Ayeni Adekunle or CKN, then chances are you are no more than 30 or 35 years old which means you may well be too young to know much about NITEL. NITEL was what we had before MTN, Airtel, Glo, Etisalat, Visafone and other telecoms companies came into the picture following the award of GSM telecom licences almost fifteen years ago.
Before GSM, we had NITEL and we also had something called the dialling tone. But let me not bore you with arcane stuff.
NITEL like most government enterprises was a problem. If you think you have bad network now, you should have seen NITEL. There were no mobile phones then so what you had were the ones you placed on a special stool and ran to when you heard it ring. Back then, to make a call was a major undertaking. You would sit, pick up the handset, wait to hear a dialling tone, then dial and wait for a connection.
Anyway, NITEL soon went moribund even though it had tried to up its game by starting a mobile division called Mtel.
Successive governments tried to revive NITEL and when it didn’t work, they decided to sell it to private entrepreneurs. 4 times, they tried and 4 times they failed until last year when a consortium called NATCOM made a bid, won and paid $252.2m
NATCOM is set to launch in November with access in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja and that should be good news for all bloggers, music streamers, online movie entrepreneurs and owners of websites. A new dawn is here.
Now, if you currently own a website, depending on the modem you are using, chances are you are uploading, downloading or streaming at speeds of no more than 5mbps if you are on a 2G or 3G plan. The really lucky ones with deep pockets could get up to 10mbps on more expensive modems and plans.
What would you do if you had a telecoms company that could provide you browsing, uploading, downloading or streaming speeds of up to 30mbps and not just via a modem but also through your phone?
I will understand and sympathise if you yawn and say, here we go again. But think about it, before one daring telecoms company pioneered per second billing no one thought it would happen, right?
So, NATCOM which will operate under the brand name ntel is bringing superfast internet access to enable e-learning, e-medicine, e-business online shopping, but most importantly browsing, uploading, downloading or streaming at speeds of up to 30mbps and at very pocket friendly prices. With NATCOM, communication, leisure, learning and entertainment will converge in very interesting ways.
With NATCOM, downloading a 20MB game will speed up from 3 mins to 25 seconds while streaming an HD video will speed up from 1-5 minutes with buffering and dropped frames to 1 second buffering with no re-buffering or dropped frames.
Consider it; the speed will make life easier and save you valuable time by cutting down the time required to post a story or upload a video or photo to your site.
NATCOM is not making empty promises. It is actually aligning its promises to the recommendations of the Presidential Committee mandated by the immediate past Minister for Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson to come up with a national broadband strategy and roadmap which would help Nigeria achieve a five-fold broadband increase by 2018.
The committee in its recommendations described broadband technology “as a transformative technology that levels the playing field and gives businesses access to regional, national, and international markets irrespective of geographical location.” Before noting that for Nigeria to
“become one of the world’s leading economies by year 2020, high-speed broadband networks that will provide every Nigerian with fast, reliable and affordable internet access is a fundamental requirement.”
NATCOM’s promise to enable superfast broadband access is underlined by the over $1.2bn it is investing in efforts to launch a new telecoms company riding on the back of the dilapidated assets and connections NITEL/MTEL left behind. Its ownership of SAT3 will also help with superfast internet from West to South Africa and Europe all the way to Asia.
And for those who don’t know, SAT3 came before Glo and Main One submarine cables. First launched in 2001, SAT3 was the precursor for internet access between Europe and West Africa and it took off where SAT2 left off as it reached full capacity. SAT-2 was brought into service in the early 1990s as a replacement for the original undersea cable SAT-1 which was constructed in the 1960s.
SAT3 has just gone through its fourth upgrade which has boosted its system from 420Gbps to 920Gbps in the northern segments and from 340Gbps to 800Gbps in the southern segments. The cable upgrade addresses the global capacity demands for fast internet connectivity, data-hungry applications, high-quality video-on-demand and increasing social media usage, thus enhancing customer experience.
The SAT3 submarine cable also boasts one of the lowest latency routes from Africa to Europe and is currently operated with full in-system protection. The doubling of its capacity positions it as the leading submarine cable with the widest reach in the world.
NATCOm is launching in November and it will be good news for all bloggers especially those of us who still put up stories via our handsets.
Superfast broadband internet access is finally here.