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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bandwidth guidelines: FG warns MDAs against defaulting


The Federal Government has warned Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) over defaulting in the guidelines for the procurement and implementation of bandwidth, network connectivity and other Information and Communications Technologies (ICT).

Sounding this note of warning last week, was the Secretary to the Federal Government, Alhaji Mahmud Yayale Ahmed at the formal launch of the broadband access partnership between Galaxy Backbone Plc and MainOne Cable Company, which held in Abuja.

Yayale Ahmed in his address to the occasion, cautioned the MDAs to be conscious of the guidelines for the procurement and implementation of bandwidth, network connectivity and other ICT infrastructure for Federal Government MDAs, which mandated Galaxy Backbone Plc as the sole solution provider of such means of communication to the parastatals.

He also said that the directive still upholds in all MDAs and remains in effect and full compliance is required from all government MDAs.

According to him, Galaxy Backbone still remains the custodian of this guideline, warning that defaulting MDAs may face sanctions.

SFG further said that the partnership between Galaxy and MainOne is consistent with the Mission and Mandate of the company, which is to securely and cost-effectively provide Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure and services to the public sector and underserved communities where government is expected to intervene.

Describing the partnership as cost-saving, Yayale-Ahmed said, the Federal Government is to save in excess of 65 per cent from the broadband access partnership between Galaxy Backbone and MainOne Cable Company.

The Secretary to the Federal Government equally noted that government saving is over previous charges on bandwidth.

“In the course of processing approval for this partnership, I understand that savings in excess of 65 per cent over previous charges will be accruing to the government,” he declared.

This, he said, shows that Galaxy Backbone has been diligent in utilizing cost saving mechanisms inherent in the procurement process, pointing out that this no doubt is in consonance with the government’s efforts at improving efficiency in the management of the available limited resources.

He anticipated that the deal has significant price reduction, which would contribute to bridging the Digital Divide to the benefit of dwellers in rural communities and boost access in educational institutions.

Commending the management of Galaxy Backbone for this partnership, Ahmed urged the company to seek avenues to partner with other organisations within and outside the public sector, in order to ensure that ICT becomes a critical contributor to national development and government transformation, just as he congratulated MainOne Cable Company for accepting to partner Galaxy Backbone.

“I call on both companies to ensure that their impact is manifested in all parts of the country and not just in Lagos and Abuja,” he said.

ITRealms Online gathered that MainOne Cable invested a total of $240 million and the Federal Government has spent about $120 million on Galaxy Backbone since its inception in 2006.

Galaxy Backbone is a government owned company whose primary mandate is the provision of ICT Infrastructure and other transversal services to Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Government.

Presently, the company has connected over 300 MDAs of the Federal Government to its network, with over 2,500 remote sites across the country and rolling out a metro-wide fibre optic network within the FCT, Abuja. Galaxy offers solutions that include: Broadband, Hosting, Remote office connectivity and a host of other related solutions.

On the other hand, Main One Cable Company Limited is reputed as the first in submarine cable offering with open access, wholesale broadband capacity in West Africa. A wholly African-owned cable firm, Main One’s vision is to expand the much needed capacity on the African continent and reduce costs of broadband communications across the continent.

This vision has been realized with completion of a 7000km submarine cable system with capacity to transmit 1.92Tbps which was placed into service on July 1, 2010 with initial landing stations in Nigeria, Ghana, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

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