Digital World
Digital World

Lagos-Calabar Highway Construction Threatens Telcom Connectivity

TECH DIGEST- In a move that has sparked concern among telecommunication companies, Multichoice recently issued a notice to subscribers, detailing a scheduled three-day technical downtime. This announcement came barely 48 hours before concerns were raised regarding the potential impact of ongoing construction on the 700km Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway.

Multichoice, the parent company of DStv and GOtv, acknowledged the expected effect of the Lagos-Calabar construction project on their uplink facilities. However, telecommunications firms have since voiced broader concerns, underscoring the critical role of telecommunication services and the ramifications of potential technical disruptions.

The Lagos-Calabar coastal highway corridor is not just any thoroughfare; it serves as a pivotal landing point for multiple submarine cables connecting Nigeria to Europe. These cables, which include the West Africa Cable System (WACS), MainOne, Glo1, ACE, and NCSCS, form the backbone of international communications and data transmission within the country.

Approved by the Federal Executive Council in February, Phase One of the ambitious 700-km Lagos-Calabar coastal highway project has been entrusted to Hitech Construction Company Limited. This project aims to link Lagos to Cross River, traversing the coastal states of Ogun, Ondo, Delta, Edo, Bayelsa, Rivers, and Akwa Ibom before reaching its destination in Cross River.

However, the construction process has not been without its challenges. Numerous properties and recreational centers in Lagos have been demolished to expedite highway construction, raising concerns among telecommunications stakeholders.

In response to these developments, telecommunication companies are emphasizing the importance of stakeholder consultations with the Ministry of Works to address potential risks and implement robust mitigation measures. Despite the urgency of the situation, dialogue between the Federal Government and telecommunication stakeholders has yet to take place.

Expressing their apprehension, Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), confirmed that the Ministry of Works had failed to engage with telcos on environmental impact assessments. Adebayo highlighted the exclusion of telecom operators from stakeholder engagements led by David Umahi, the Minister of Works, further exacerbating concerns within the industry.

As construction progresses on the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway, telecommunication companies are urging caution from Hitech Construction to prevent any damage to critical national infrastructure. Amidst the evolving situation, stakeholders await a proactive response from the government to safeguard telecommunications services and maintain uninterrupted connectivity throughout the construction process.