The Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigeria Communications Commission, Umar Danbatta has emphasised the need for a national policy, regulatory frameworks to further localise traffic and data in the country.
He noted that Nigeria is well-positioned to attract a fair share of investment in the global data centre market as recent developments point to the limitless treasure within this space.
Danbatta said this while delivering his keynote address at the fourth Telecommunications Sector Sustainability Forum in Lagos themed: ‘Mainstreaming Data Centres in the Nigerian Digital Economy’
Danbatta, who was represented by Dr Sunday Atu, Head, Tariff Administration NCC, said mainstreaming data centres required collective efforts.
According to the EVC, “The evolving primacy of data, encapsulated in the slogan, Data is the new oil, has continued to resonate globally with increasing intensity in the context of the emerging digital economy.
This, he said, is why it has become a subject of special consideration by regimes, requiring appropriate structures and frameworks to truly tap and optimise the opportunities provided by this new order.
“Data centre services, no doubt, hold the keys to the ultimate crystallisation of this new line of thinking within the ICT sector and by extension to the greater national economy of nations in so many ways.
Danbatta noted that one of such is the added impetus towards improving the security and reliability of the nation’s digital infrastructure.
“The nature and functional model of data centres with special regard to its centralised architecture, with compelling assurance provides greater guarantee against various malicious attacks and unauthorized access to sensitive information.
“This is in addition to the efficiency engendered by the robust economies of scale through critical resources shared and made available by Data Centres.
“Being able to substantially underwrite some of our critical resource gaps such as weak energy challenges, Operators within the Data Centre space ensure that the well established and globally accepted tripods of confidentiality, integrity and availability are so seamlessly provided for uptake by users in the most economical way.”
“Africa has recently assumed a new frontier and compelling destination for global Big Tech players. These include such giants as Google with its Equiano subsea fibre cable spanning 15,000 km from Portugal to South Africa with strategic landing points in Nigeria and Namibia and expected to increase connectivity more than five-fold within Nigeria while creating an expected 1.6m jobs.
“Also, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, is equally at the threshold of launching its own subsea cable called 2Africa in 2024 to connect 16 African countries at an estimated cost of $1bn. It is targeted to generate close to $36bn of economic output within 2 to 3 years of operation.”
While Nigeria represents an attractive destination for more investment in data centre services and operations, the implication of such investments on jobs in the construction, operation, and maintenance of these data centres can only be imagined.
Danbatta further added that, the recent conclusion of the framework and licensing of Mobile Virtual Network Operators represents another big bang in the industry after the launch of GSM in 2001.
“This is expected to engender greater expansion, more reach and additional choice to consumers in addition to enhanced service uptake on Data Centre Operations”.
He however reiterated the fact that mainstreaming of data centres require our collective efforts.