Nigeria Undersea Cable Operator Plans $25 Million Data Center

MainOne Cable Co Ltd., which operates an undersea cable connecting West Africa to Europe, plans to open a $25 million data center in Nigeria by June as connectivity improves and more business gets done online.

The center will provide reliable Internet access and host information for clients such as banks, phone companies, government bodies, and a growing number of dot-com businesses, MainOne Chief Executive Officer Funke Opeke said near the center’s construction site on the outskirts of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.

“We’re moving away from just being the submarine cable provider to being a full service connectivity provider,” Opeke said. “As you move data and connectivity, people need places to host that data, so the data center business is a natural evolution for service providers globally.”

International bandwidth brought by undersea cables to Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producer, has increased about 26 times to more than 9,000 gigabits per second (9 terabits) over the past four years. Nigeria plans to use that bandwidth to grow its broadband penetration to 20 percent of the population by 2018 from 4 percent now, according to its National Broadband Plan 2013-2018. South Africa and Kenya have similar broadband policies that aim to attract investment to increase Internet access as more Africans conduct their business online.

MainOne signed a $100 million loan facility with Standard Chartered Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Skye Bank Plc and FCMB Group Plc to expand its network and refinance debt, Standard Chartered said in an e-mailed statement on Oct. 14.

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