The Lagos State Unified Duct Infrastructure Project (LASG-UDIP) is expected to gulp about $200 million or N82 billion (N410/$) on completion of the project.
The project, which will see to the deployment of 6,000km fibre optic cables across the state, is expected to gulp about $100 million in each of the two phases.
Though details of the contract are not available in the public domain, it was learnt that the concessionaire is bearing the entire cost, while the state government provides enabling environment for the project.
Already, across the state, there have been notable construction of ducts and subsequent deployment of cables along major roads and streets in the citywide Internet connection.
It was gathered that the project, which is part of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s smart-city initiative, initially targeted May 2022 for completion of the first phase that will see the laying of 3,000km fibre optic cables across the state, but the project is now expected to be completed on or before February 2022.
The project has defaced some roads due to repeated digging, with the fibre pipes littering many locations statewide. From Surulere to Ketu, Oshodi to Ikorodu, Yaba to Obalende, the pipes are everywhere.
Interestingly, some mobile network operators (MNOs) have started showing interest in the project with some 2,100km of fibre from the project already leased to them.
However, the state’s right of way (RoW) fees of N796/linear meter still remains a source of concern to telecommunications operators going by other levies and taxes they pay. Telcos claim they pay as much as 39 different taxes, which have in several ways impacted their operations.
A senior executive of one of the telecommunication firms, who doesn’t want his name in print, said a further downward review of the LASG RoW would do a lot to help service providers in the fibre optic segment of the industry.
He said the charge is not convenient for telecoms operators because it is over 500 per cent higher than the normal fees approved by the Federal Government, which is N145 per linear meter.
According to him, it means that under normal circumstance, Lagos residents should pay more for calls and data services because it cost operators more to deploy services in the state.
“I expect the Lagos State Government to be more considerate when putting a policy together in respect of telecoms infrastructure that falls under the Lagos State Infrastructure Maintenance and Regulatory Agency (LASIMRA). The international best practice is that RoW is paid once and for all. The idea of recurring payment is completely strange and is going to over-burden operators in the state.”
Executive Secretary, Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbolahan Awonuga, said the body met with LASIMRA some months back and “we had a review with them. We pushed for N750 but they insisted on N850. If they now peg it at N800 per linear meter, it is okay.”Follow us on social media