Facebook new investment in Nigeria heightens 5G fears

Despite the controversies surrounding 5G operations in Nigeria, world’s largest social media company, Facebook is designing a massive underwater cable around Nigeria and other African countries, bringing high-speed connectivity to the continent’s 1.3 billion inhabitants.

Although, the new $1 billion investment is not categorically linked to 5G by Facebook, but the fact it is designated high-speed connectivity may raise an eyebrow.

It would be recalled that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has rubbished reports making rounds in the social media claiming that claiming that 5G has been switched-on in Nigeria.

The Commission has unequivocally stated that there is no deployment of 5G in Nigeria at the moment.

The NCC back in November 2019 approved trial test for 5G for a period of three months and that the trial has been concluded and installation decommissioned.

Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman, NCC said that ‘’the trial among others was to study and observe any health or security challenges the 5G network might present. Relevant stakeholders including members of the security agencies were invited to participate during the trial’’.

But recent activities in the laying of optical cables by telecom companies has heighten the fears that the 5G network may be secretly being deployed to avoid public backlash.

And the recent pronouncement by Facebook that it is partnering the likes of South Africa’s MTN, Britain’s Vodafone,  France’s Orange, and China Mobile, and other Africa based operators called 2Africa to build the massive project across Africa, including Nigeria, has further raised the suspicion that the NCC may be economical with the truth about 5G deployment in the country.

According to Bloomberg, Facebook has assigned Nokia-owned cable systems providers and others to build the subsea cable. At 37,000 km, Facebook claims the internet cable will equal the total distance covered round earth.

The main object of this massive project, Facebook says, is to bring efficient and high-speed internet connectivity to citizens of Africa.

Africa is “currently the least connected” in the world, Facebook wrote in a blog post yesterday with just 25% of its population having access to the internet

The submerged cable will interconnect 23 countries in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

In addition, Facebook said it will “provide nearly three times the total network capacity of all the subsea cables serving Africa today.”

Facebook explained that the 2Africa project will be made more efficient and durable using aluminium rather than copper, as these could help enhance network capacity.

 

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