Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Airtel Inaugurates First Green-Site

...........Invests N93Billion In Network Capacity, Quality

*L-R: Director, Regulatory Affairs, Airtel Nigeria, Osondu Nwokoro; Chief Operating Officer & Executive Director, Airtel Nigeria, Deepak Srivastava and Director, Corporate Communications & CSR, Airtel Nigeria, Emeka Oparah during the media briefing at the company’s Headquarters in Ikoyi, Lagos...

Airtel Networks Limited, one of Nigeria’s leading telecoms operators has scored yet another first following the completion and subsequent commissioning of Nigeria’s first ever telecom Green Site in Lekki, Lagos.
Airtel had recently announced a landmark deal with Ericsson, a world-leading provider of telecommunications equipment and services to mobile and fixed network operators to upgrade its 250 diesel-powered stations in Nigeria to Green-sites, an initiative designed to enable the company harness solar energy to operate its base stations.
Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director of Airtel Nigeria, Deepak Srivastava, said at a parley with ICT journalists after a visit to the solar-powered Green-Site in Lekki, Lagos, recently that the initiative will contribute to a considerable reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and prevent network down time associated with inconsistent power supply.
Srivastava who regretted that non-availability of regular grid power supply to sites across the country is responsible for over 70% of down time resulting in poor Quality of Service
often experienced by consumers, assured that the Green-Site would go a long way in addressing this critical challenge.
The COO who hinted that the company was exploring other options including a partnership with the World Bank to address the nagging issue of power supply especially to the remote communities pledged that telecom giant will not relent in its effort at providing first class service to Nigerian subscribers.
“Even as we pursue the Green-Site solution, Airtel has in the last six months installed dual generating sets in 200 sites and installed high back up batteries in 600 sites. Furthermore, an additional high capacity back up batteries and 500 new Generating Sets are to be deployed by March 2012,” he stated.
Srivastava who lamented that in some other countries, operators are concerned with managing customer experience rather than keeping the sites up as is the case in Nigeria, where power outages, fibre cut and community issues have combined to undermine the integrity of network quality announced that the company has invested over N93billion in the past one year to expand the capacity and enhance the robustness of its network in pursuit of world class Quality of Service (QoS).
According to him, “Airtel has invested heavily on site roll-out, power improvement projects, fibre roll-out, microwave replacement, technical engineering, network capacity enhancement and adaptive multiple rate” adding that in the last one year, the company has continued to make significant CAPEX (capital expenditure) investment towards improving network quality and has embarked on specific initiatives to expand its network coverage.
He added that Airtel has built over 500 additional sites in the last six months and intends to complete an additional 1000 sites by March 2012.
On the company’s Fibre Rollout initiative, Srivastava hinted that Airtel had commenced a drive to aggressively grow its existing 4500km of fibre by 1800km, giving a total of 6,300km by March 2012 to provide alternate and multipath redundancy and additional trunk capacity, adding that this will reduce the impact of fibre cuts on network availability.
Accompanied by Chief Technical Officer, Awadhesh Kumar Kalia; Regulatory Director, Osondu Nwokoro and Corporate Communications and CSR Director, Emeka Oparah, Srivastava revealed that Airtel has embarked on several improvement initiatives and is replacing old Microwave radio links with modern high capacity equipment while a whopping 150 hops are to be replaced by March 2012.
“We are committed to improving the capacity and robustness of our network because it is equally in our interest as we continue to grow our customer base. Nigerians should rest assured that we will co-operate with the regulator to ensure that the prescribed quality standards are always met and even surpassed”.
Earlier at the Green-Site base at Lekki, General Manager, Operations of Airtel Nigeria, Abdul-Hakeem Olasewere had told journalists that the Green-Site will deal with three issues of power supply, the supply chain and emission, the success of which will see to improvement in quality of service in addition to reduction in operational hiccups.
While noting that about 250 of such sites across the country will be up and running latest February 2012, Olasewere explained that when fully charged, the battery bank in a particular unit can supply power for about 10 hours. He said power supply in the site can automatically switch over to the generator should the battery power get exhausted.

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