The U.S. Trade and Development Agency awarded a grant to the Nigerian company – Backbone Connectivity Network (BCN) – for a feasibility study that will lead to faster, more reliable connectivity for millions of residents and corporate customers in Port Harcourt and the neighbouring coastal communities of Nigeria’s South-South region. BCN selected HIP Consult Inc. of Washington, D.C. to conduct the study. The financial value of the grant was not mentioned.
“Through USTDA’s Access Africa initiative, we are creating the environment where U.S. companies can effectively compete for the future of Africa’s telecommunications sector, while also building inclusive, secure and sustainable connectivity for our partners in Nigeria,” said USTDA’s Acting Director, Thomas Hardy.
“Our support of this project also sends a clear, confident message about the role that small businesses like HIP Consult can play in the development of transformative infrastructure in top emerging markets like Nigeria,” Hardy added.
The South-South region of Nigeria lacks direct connection to subsea internet cables and depends on 385 miles of terrestrial fiber to transport international internet traffic through Lagos.
USTDA’s study will help alleviate this internet traffic congestion and address growing demand for connectivity by evaluating the deployment of a subsea cable branching unit, a cable landing station, terrestrial fiber deployment and a data center.
Also speaking, BCN’s Managing Director/CEO, Ibrahim Dikko said, “We are very proud to collaborate with USTDA towards the delivery of this important national project, especially in this extraordinary time and anticipated increase for telecommunications infrastructure in Nigeria. The project will support Nigeria’s ongoing economic diversification efforts and provide socio-economic advancement in the South-South region, including in Port Harcourt, a major coastal city without a nearby link to submarine cable systems and global internet bandwidth.”
“With USTDA’s funding, we will be able to provide the informed analysis needed to ascertain the economic feasibility required to attract financing,” said CEO of HIP Consult, Judah J. Levine. “We are proud to contribute our knowledge and resources to support BCN and are eager to demonstrate the benefits of American know-how and technology.”
Since 1992, USTDA has funded more than 65 activities in Nigeria, with the potential to leverage nearly $13 billion in financing. The project advances USTDA’s Access Africa Initiative and the U.S. government’s Prosper Africa initiative.