MainOne, West Africa’s internet backbone, celebrates 10-year milestone
MainOne, the leading provider of datacenter and broadband connectivity service in West Africa, has turned 10 years old.
The telecommunications service provider was launched in Nigeria in 2010. And it has since expanded to 10 West African countries, including Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.
MainOne, in its anniversary letter, said it has invested over $400 million in broadband infrastructure across West Africa. This is part of efforts to bridge the digital divide and enable the digital economy on the continent. Ten years ago, internet penetration across West Africa was less than 10%. Today, internet penetration rate inches up to 40%.
The Internet Society noted in its latest report that MainOne has been critical to the success of local internet exchange points in Nigeria and Kenya. In 2018, MainOne launched the West African Exchange (WAF-IX). The exchange aims to help content providers like Netflix transmit content from their Point of Presence (PoP) in Nigeria to other West African countries.
MainOne is particularly instrumental to Nigeria’s technology boom. It provided the broadband internet that powered the growth of startups in Nigeria’s first tech hub, Yaba. In 2011, MainOne collaborated with the Lagos State government to install a fibre-optic-powered information superhighway in Yabacon Valley .
Last year, MainOne also announced a partnership with Facebook that would see it provide broadband internet in Edo and Ogun State. The company is also running a campaign tagged, Digital Lagos: Broadband for All . The aim of the campaign is to enable the digital transformation of Lagos. To achieve this lofty ambition, MainOne would deploy broadband infrastructure across the state.
According to DataReportal , there were 85.4 million internet users in Nigeria as of January 2020. And internet penetration stood at 42%. This represents a 2.6% increase or 2.2 million internet users between 2019 and 2020.
"We started on this journey to deploy critical infrastructure to bridge the digital divide in West Africa 10 years ago. While we are pleased that we have made an impact, there is so much more work to be done", Funke Opeke, CEO of MainOne said.
"The recent challenges we have faced with COVID-19 pandemic highlight the need for additional investment and smarter policies to deploy shared infrastructure required to make access to broadband a reality for more Africans at a price they can afford".
Across Africa, the average cost of 1GB data is 7.12% of the average month salary. The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) said in its latest report that affordability is the greatest barrier to a connected world. It noted that if average Americans pay 7.12% of their income for 1GB data, they would be paying $373 (N145,500) per month.
Opeke reiterated the commitment of MainOne to enable the digital economy across West Africa. She said, "MainOne has been leading that charge...