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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

‘Landing of Glo 1, a bold initiative’

For second national carrier, Globacom, Saturday, September 5, 2009 was an epoch making day in the annals of the operator, as the much anticipated multi-million dollars Glo-1 submarine cable finally touched down in Lagos amidst celebrations.

Speaking on the attainment of this milestone for telecom industry, the Group Executive Director, Globacom, Mr. Paddy Adenuga, said Glo 1 cable will deliver transmission capacity that would radically change Nigeria and Africa’s economic landscape by providing unprecedented high speed internet services and make telecom services much faster, more reliable and cheaper for consumers.

Mr. Adenuga said Glo-1’s current and ultimate capacity is enough to cater for the required broadband need of Nigeria for the next 15 to 20 years.

He said the cable will free up resources for other forms of investments which governments and business developments need through broad market coverage at high capacity and at a fraction of cost and time.

“In a nutshell, Glo 1 will stimulate a new era of prosperity in the sub-continent,” said Adenuga, adding that the successful delivery of the cable has shown that Globacom has an awesome capacity to deliver complex projects.

The Glo-1 submarine cable worth over $250 million, is a boost to bandwidth deployment within the country and the West African sub-region. The cable which began its journey from Bude, in the United Kingdom, in November 2008 finally landed the shores of Alfa Beach, Lekki and was received by the Executive Director, Human Resources, Globacom Limited, Mr Adewale Sangowawa and other members of the telco’s management.

Also on hand to receive the cable at exactly 10.50am, includes; the Executive Director, Legal, Mrs. Gladys Talabi, Chief Technical Officer (CTO), Glo Mobile, Mr. Sanjib Roy, Head of Globacom-Gateway, Ibrahim Fadipe among others.

Speaking after receiving the cable, Mr. Sangowawa said the company was making history as this will be first time that any single company will achieve such a feat.

The tradition, he said, is for a consortium of telecommunications companies to team up to set up a submarine cable network to enhance their connectivity and bandwidth capacity.

“With Glo-1, Globacom has taken a huge leap to avail Africa the magical possibilities of broadband. Glo-1 submarine cable connects West Africa to the UK and has landing points in Lagos and Bonny in Nigeria, Bude in London and Lisbon in Portugal. Glo 1 is also deploying 16 branching units to connect countries in West Africa,” he said.

Sangowawa also said the 9,800km cable will enable the company to have a clear distinction in providing quality services through multiple redundant and high quality direct links to various countries across the world, stressing that it will also enable it to interconnect with several international networks and leading traffic carriers in the globe.

He said Glo-1 complements the nationwide optic fibre cable, the first phase which has been completed, and will provide a better alternative for bulk voice and data transmission requirements than satellite and microwave-based transmissions.

“It will be a whole new era of unequalled speed and access to digital information as Glo 1 would cater for long term bandwidth requirements for voice and data transmission in the West Africa sub-region. Presently, West African countries have a high dependability on satellite based operators for fulfilling their bandwidth requirement.

“At present, bandwidth providers are retailing bandwidth they procure in bulk, which invariably is very expensive. Glo 1 fills this vacuum and will narrow the digital divide between Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world,” he said.

On the opportunities presented by this achievement, Project Manager Glo-1, Mr. Kayode Adebiyi said it would leapfrog the economy within the region through high speed and reliable data, voice and video transmission.

He noted that Glo 1 was built with a 640 gigabytes capacity and is 99.9 per cent reliable to boost electronic-medicine (e-Medicine); e-learning; governance; entertainment industry; telecommunications; E-banking; effective and efficient call centers across the nation and disaster management through on time and effective communication.

The cable which arrived via a specially-designed telecom vessel marked, International Telecom (IT) Intreprid Bridgetown, is being handled by Alcatel Laucent Submarine Networks.

The 9,800 kilometres-long undersea cable which is laid from United Kingdom, through Portugal up to Nouakchott in Mauritania will have landing points in United Kingdom, Portugal, Ghana and Senegal as well as in Lagos and Bonny in Nigeria by the time of completion.

Commenting, Senior Project Manager, Marine, Alcatel Laucent, Mr. Soren Christensen, said the cable landing station, in Lagos, would be completed in a few weeks, and will be laid on the sea bed in order to avoid disruption by vessels or by any other marine activity.

At the terminal building which will be built at the beach, he said, the cable will be connected to the land cable system and will serve as the interface from Lagos to the submarine cable.

The coming of Glo-1 submarine cable could only be better appreciated when it is recalled that recently, NITEL’s SAT 3, the only active submarine cable available to West Africa, experienced a cut which disrupted banking and telecoms services as most banks could not meet their obligations to their customers, owing to unavailability of internet which led to monumental loses in both manpower and financial resources.

With the ceremonies on land over, it was now time to take a trip by boat to visit IT Intrepid Bridgetown, specially designed cable ship which was in a dynamic position (DP). This enabled it maintain its stationary position regardless of wind and current, while the activities go on.

With the life jackets on, the trip that was to expose the fact that but a few, a greater majority were not only uncomfortable but obviously heaved a sigh of relief on disembarking over an hour later, began.

While on the sea, the boat suddenly stopped and there was palpable fear around as the waves made the boat appear as though it was susceptible to the wind.

Even though this lasted for less than two minutes, it was like a life time as those on board silently said prayers, while some others joked with the fact that they were either still unmarried or had only one child.

Of course, the boat captain and his crew were very calm as they explained that the boat picked up an object, which it had to discard for the journey to resume.

As the boat drew close to the ship, a call was made to the captain to send radio signal to the ship captain lest they mistake it for militants, of course the consequence will be better imagined.

As the boat went round, the beauty and level of the sophisticated technology of the ship became glaring. Apart from the name of the vessel, which shows it is an IT vessel, the design indicated that it is designed for laying cables as it has an opening on top through which the cables roll out from the ship.

With this bold initiative, Globacom has again proved its determination to rank among the top players in the continent and beyond as this will not only boost internet accessibility but also cheap and qualitative telephony.

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