By Jonathan Ugbal; Government House Correspondent
Cross River State Government Tuesday, signed a contract with Chinese telecoms giant Huawei Technology to make the capital city of Calabar Nigeria’s ‘first smart city’ through cloud technology over 22 months after a similar deal was struck with MTN.
The Governor, Senator Ayade says the execution of the contract will herald the full digitalization of Calabar and the entire state as data will be available via cheap Wi-Fi services.
“This partnership will provide cheap access to connectivity; Cross Riverians will know that Huawei is bringing the best technology to us. They are a known name in the world and a pace setter in the industry” Ayade said, adding that; “Cross River (State) deserves only the best which they have to offer. The whole state is going digital as the Cross River super highway will have super-connectivity where all the best internet and technology services will be offered to users of the super highway. This will be the first fully smart city in Nigeria. Cross River will be the model for Africa and we are proud to be associated with this.”
Explaining further, Ayade pointed out that; “This will be the first time that data would be provided from the cloud. With this digital cloud, it will offer opportunity to get information with ease and comfort, including boosting research and academic works.”
“The project which is in partnership with Huawei of China, the equipment manufacturer, with Sino Infrastructure Development Company Limited as the technical partner in Nigeria for the project,” said Ayade.
He reminded the firm that part of its responsibility is not “only providing 3g and 4g network connectivity but also fibre to home, which will afford the opportunity to download music, news, movies and even research materials.”
Earlier, the Managing Director of Sino Infrastructure Development Company, Mr. Li Yamping in his remarks pointed out that Huawei and the Cross River Government are working with their company as technical partner on the project and assured that the expected goal will be achieved just as the standard required will be maintained.
Li said that the company was proud to work with the state in line with the governor’s digital policy of making the state the number one digital state in Africa.
The ICT Commissioner, Offu Aya who earlier in the year said his ministry is yet to generate a dime in 2016 said that; “Before the carnival the pilot scheme will be ready where there will be free wifi services. This will make Calabar the first smart city in Nigeria, it will benefit Cross Riverians and Nigerians as it will make communication faster and easier.”
In January 2015, CrossRiverWatch had reported that the Cross River State government via a partnership with telecoms giant, MTN had made Calabar the first smart city following the installation of 120 kilometres of 96 ducts of core fibre optic cable and open ducts across the Calabar metropolis.
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