By Jennifer John
The joint Board of Directors of a technological advancement company, Heartland Fiber Optics Limited under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) with Imo State Government has been inaugurated by Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma.
Inaugurating the Board of Directors, Governor Uzodimma said the economic prosperity agenda of his government requires that the cost of doing business must be reduced to the barest minimum, with improvement of ease of doing business.
“This is one of the reasons we are encouraged to go into Public Private Partnership (PPP) with this group of investors to provide this telecommunication infrastructure. Not only that it will improve process of businesses in Imo State, it will help in our fight against crimes and improve our digital economy”.
The governor hoped and prayed that the company will succeed, as according to him, the investment will also add to the states Foreign Direct Investment.
Fielding questions from newsmen, the Chairman, Heartland Fiber Optics Limited, Raskie Bennigie said the company is a consortium of Summit Innovative and Synergy Limited, Housestan Havens Limited and Imo State Government.
“We are deploying a 3000 kilometres fiber optics infrastructure throughout Imo State. Imo State will be the second state in the country that will have this technology after Lagos State”.
He said the choice of Imo State was informed by the technological friendliness of the state, as according him since the company started consultation and discussion with Imo State Government, the officials of the state have always been very receptive.
Adding his voice, the Operations and Technical Director of the company, Mr Chris Eguaibor spoke on what the state stands to benefit from the project.
He said, “Anywhere there is 10 percent increase in broadband penetration, you have a commensurate 1.5 percent increase in GDP and some other fallout benefits, such as; electronic traffic management system, internally generated revenue from startups.
“We are not bringing the active fiber itself. What we are doing is the duct or conduit. The same way you have underground piping. The fiber optics will go through this piping to homes, offices, schools, hospitals, government premises and other areas of interest.
He said their investment will bring an unrivaled technological advancement to the state, pointing out that in 2021 alone, $1.37b came into Nigeria through Foreign Direct Investment and 95 percent of the money went to Lagos State alone because Lagos is already technologically advanced.
“They have done three thousand of the six thousand kilometres of their own unified underground fiberoptic ducting. So what will happen is that Telecom companies will come and lease these docs that are laid underground at our cost.
“The beauty is that for the entire period of concession, the state is going to make a percentage of the lease cost for the entire duration of the project.
The benefits are enormous. You can have things like electronic medicine, voice video data at home, it doesn’t matter the number of people in your home, you will have unlimited internet services”.
He said fiber optics is the most reliable for Telecom companies, as it reduces some of their operating expenses because they will change from microwave to fiber optics which is all about light connectivity.
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