Stakeholders worry over high cost of Internet

The high cost of Internet in the country has been attributed to a myriad of challenges ranging from the international hosting of content to the destruction of core telecoms infrastructure in the country.

Stakeholders worry over high cost of Internet

Stakeholders in the telecommunication industry also said the unstable power supply and the high cost of alternative power were some other factors driving up the cost of Internet.

Speaking at the AFRINIC-27 conference hosted by Nigerian Internet Registration Association in Lagos, they noted that the local hosting of content; adequate protection of telecom infrastructure; and local community engagement would address the underlying issues.

Addressing the topic ‘The Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria: The impact on the ICT industry’, the Chief Executive Officer, Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria, Mohamed Rudman, stated that it was more expensive to host content in other countries because the traffic would be routed through many geographical regions before getting to Nigeria.

According to him, the cost increases as you move away from where the Internet is

“The actual cost internationally is $1 per megabits per second. That is the highest you can get. Also, you need to have global carriers that carry connectivity from the United States, the United Kingdom, all the way to Nigeria using undersea cables and the price increases to around $10,” Rudman said.

He added, “This price is not for a very large capacity but for an STM1 circuit like C1circuit of 155mbps. By the time it lands on the shores of Nigeria, the barest minimum you can get is around $20 per mbps.”

According to the IXPN boss, Internet connectivity is passed from big submarine operators, which in turn sell to Tier II service providers within Nigeria; then the service providers either sell directly to the end users or sell to Tier III small service providers who now sell to the end users.

Rudman said the cost would increase as you moved away from where you could get Internet service and as it would be passed from one seller to another.

“Therefore the end users, not only in Nigeria, but other developing countries tend to pay more for Internet access because content is very far away from them and they need to pay for that.”

However, he said local hosting of content was cheaper, attracting foreign investment and more business opportunities.

He said, “It saves money because when traffic remains local, it reduces capital flight and money stays in the local economy, which is used to provide better local infrastructure and services for customers. Customers tend to pay less for Internet access and therefore more customers sign up because the cost is cheaper; the ISPs have more business and more opportunities.”

The Chief Technology Officer, Internet Solutions Nigeria Limited, Johnson Olukayode, said the theft of core infrastructure components such as batteries and power generators, destruction of fibre optic cables in local community, demand for financial tipping before repairs and epileptic power supply were driving up the cost of Internet.

He said, “Every service provider in the Tier I and Tier II invests so much to ensure there is 24/7 power supply. Efficiency of the alternative power supply like the solar energy is hindered by the initial cost of installation, which is very high; improper positioning of solar panel hangers; pulse wave moderation, among others.”

He said reliable low-cost Internet could be achieved by keeping the traffic local, encouraging private investment in power generation.

He added, “We need specialists in solar energy installation in making it work for us in Nigeria. Service providers need to engage more in community social responsibility.”


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