In this interview with LEADERSHIP, Aisha Abdulaziz, Strategy and Operations manager of a multimedia media service provider, Legend, says Nigeria can solve its broadband challenges if the right things are done.
How can Nigeria solve the challenges of poor quality and unreliable internet service?
The issues are mostly caused by infrastructure gaps and distortions in the industry structure. On the infrastructure gaps, the country has a huge shortage of terrestrial ICT cable infrastructure which is the main foundation for reliable broadband. Though we have made progress in the Submarine and National Long Distance Cable infrastructure, we are lacking in FTTX infrastructure also referred to as the last mile. This coupled with an industry structure that is skewed heavily in the favour of mobile telephone operators, makes it difficult to achieve the type of focus that will bolster the growth of cable broadband. In Legend, we took the bull by the horn and deployed the right infrastructure to the right places at the right prices. We presently have deployed a purpose built Fibre to the Home (FTTH ) network in the entire Abuja Metropolis and Suburbs to provide True Broadband to the residents. Presently, thousands of homes are connected to the Legend Network and the testimonials from the customers show that we can get it right in Nigeria if we put square pegs in square holes.
What is your take on costs of internet and other broadband services in Nigeria? The prices are fairly affordable compared to other countries. For example an unlimited residential Fibre service in Nigeria ranges between N15, 000 to 30,000. In the UK or the US they range between 30 to 50 pounds per month. The average price for 1 Gigabyte of Mobile Data in the US is 50 USD. In Nigeria the average price per GB of Mobile Data is $5.So in actuality, we are spoiled for price in Nigeria. I think the challenge has to do with our ability to optimize these resources and create the commensurate value to the benefit of our economy and people.
What is unique about your products and services? The difference in the speed and capacity of a fibre optic cable compared to a radio microwave or mobile signal is very substantial. This means that features like unlimited internet access can be sold conveniently over fibre but this will be a struggle for a mobile network as they have to limit the users to preserve bandwidth across the limited radio frequency resources on the network. Also bandwidth intensive applications like HD video in large volumes will be a struggle for mobile networks because of limitations of the technology, while this is not experienced with the Fibre advantage. We have partnered with providers of content to get the best content available anywhere. We want our consumers to stand shoulder to shoulder with people anywhere.
Video on demand, Internet service or Home Security, which one is attracting more customers?
My thinking is that two of them exist so you can attract users to the third, more lucrative option. All of the services come bundled together, although, there are added costs to executing the Home Automation services, as every home requires a bespoke setup. Our Wi-Fi hotspots are the Legend zones which ensure you enjoy the same incredible high speed and unlimited premium HD content at key locations.
Tell us how Legend came about?
We built a comprehensive fiber-optic network infrastructure in Abuja, Lagos and select parts of the country. We decided to set ourselves apart by not just providing INTERNET, but by providing access to a better, more enhanced lifestyle through a multi-media broadband service that is incredibly fast and super reliable as a product. We named it Legend, especially because this service works! Our research shows us that Nigerians want more than “just Internet service”, they deserve superior technology, unrestricted connectivity and access to premium content and Legend is making this a reality in Abuja.