A recent visit by a Nigerian delegation to the Cisco Broadband Innovation Center in Raleigh, N.C. highlights Cisco’s efforts to work with government and private sector investors to help modernize network architectures through validated designs.

At the end of 2023, Nigeria had yet to reach 50% national broadband penetration. However, a promising initiative was launched this year to help communities tackle this challenge and overcome digital barriers through dependable and affordable internet access.

A visit to the Cisco Broadband Innovation Center

In February, I was fortunate to be part of the team that proudly welcomed a delegation from Nigeria to the Cisco Broadband Innovation Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. This included Dr. ‘Bosun Tijani, Nigerian Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, and Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, Director General of Nigeria’s National Information Technology Development Agency.

Along with a tour of the lab, we shared with the delegation the latest advancements in communications and opportunities that are available to Nigeria to help them reach their communications goals.

Cisco’s role in bridging the digital divide

Cisco’s strategy aims to modernize network architectures through validated designs. We work with government and private sector investors by providing validated designs and remaining access agnostic. We can reduce the cost of complexity for our customers and enhance the customer experience.

Our results have shown 60% improved capital efficiency, 66% better OPEX utilization, and 78% faster time-to-service through automation. We’re making networks resilient, ensuring customers have a seamless experience from end to end.

Cisco created its $20 million Broadband Innovation Center to let customers see, first-hand, the state-of-the-art solutions they can have in their own environments and the powerful connections they can drive for their customers. We’ve redefined what a broadband service provider is. It’s no longer a traditional telephone company, cable operator, or satellite internet provider. It’s now expanded to electrical co-ops and municipalities that want to provide broadband.

Value of coherent optics

A success story we shared with the Nigerian delegation was that of Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation (MBC), a nonprofit, middle-mile broadband provider with a fiber network of 2300 miles. MBC came to Cisco with the challenge of minimizing costs and delivering high-bandwidth connectivity to rural communities while providing new economic opportunities to the region.

Using Cisco’s 400G Digital Coherent Optics QSFP-DD Optical Modules along with other Cisco broadband solutions, we were able to improve cost and power efficiency that eliminated the need for amplification. MBC attained 400 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity at a price comparable to 100G upgrades while simplifying traffic flows and increasing routing and service flexibility.

Transforming the economics of the internet with routed PON

We also discussed with the delegation superfast broadband with Cisco Routed PON, a disruptive solution that enables agile, differentiated broadband services through a software-defined broadband network.

Cisco Routed PON makes end-to-end architecture much simpler to manage, which in turn lowers OPEX. This helps our customers stand out from the competition and monetize their network investments in a smarter way, enabling differentiated services for business and residential customers.

Connecting students with Wi-Fi access

Since the pandemic, it’s become critical to ensure school children have reliable internet access at home to complete their assignments. In an effort to fulfill this objective, the City of Fort Worth came to us with a need to provide digital access to five key urban neighborhoods.

The project resulted in providing 10,000 lower-income households, encompassing approximately 40,000 residents, with free Wi-Fi access and giving students a better shot at success.

Looking to the future

Back at the Broadband Innovation Center, I spoke to the Nigerian delegation about their challenges with power in rural communities and limited 3G Wi-Fi connectivity. And I’m excited about the possibility of helping to welcome new communities into the digital world by providing solutions that connect people and bring new opportunities to rural communities.

Working together, we can pave the way for a future where everyone has the opportunity to succeed in today’s digital age.

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Robin Olds

Business Development Manager

Service Provider - Americas