Galaxy Backbone Limited and the Eko-Konnect Research and Education Initiative (Eko-Konnect) have signed a joint venture agreement to collaborate on a backbone network for research and education as a critical step towards the development of robust national infrastructure that provides reliable high-speed connectivity, access to research outputs, teaching, and learning materials for tertiary education in Nigeria.
Galaxy Backbone will provide datacentre services and a fibre-optic cable transport network through which Eko-Konnect will interconnect campuses and provide a number of “above the net” scholarly communication services including a real-time collaboration platform, trust and identity framework, develop relevant cloud services and pilot a shared research product repository.
In the first project commencing immediately, the joint venture will establish the hubs in Enugu and Awka, interconnect nearby institutions in Eastern Nigeria to peers in the Lagos area and environs, and counterparts in the global research network through the West and Central Research and Education Network (WACREN). The interconnection of clusters in other geo-political zones of Nigeria will follow in 2020.
Speaking of the partnership, Prof. Charles Uwadia, Chair, Eko-Konnect Board of Trustees, noted that the collaboration is a welcomed development.
“This development gives the much-needed impetus to the several initiatives providing services for research and education communities in Nigeria. The availability of affordable and dedicated network and data centre services for educational institutions across the country will provide the necessary momentum to work towards the community-driven platforms required for long-term sustainability,” he said.
Also commenting, Prof. Charles Esimone, Vice-Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka remarked that “As its first beneficiaries, there is great expectation in the South Eastern cluster of institutions at this development. Our efforts in recent years to improve connectivity speeds and provide advanced services to colleagues in this part of the country will now have the necessary infrastructure to realise our ambitions. I am very excited at the promise the future holds and the opportunity this presents for enhanced collaboration between institutions in the South East, other institutions across Nigeria and international peers.”
While Galaxy Backbone is a wholly-owned enterprise of the Federal Government of Nigeria established and mandated to be the provider of ICT infrastructure and services to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (“MDAs”) of the Federal Government as well as other public institutions, Eko-Konnect is a community-driven initiative which promotes the establishment of research clusters in geo-political regions of Nigeria, interconnected via a backbone to provide the high-speed networks that are essential for sharing, accessing and processing the high data volumes generated by research and education communities.