The University of Ilorin has signed a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) agreement with an Information Technology company, WaveTek Nigeria Limited, for the provision of a high-speed campus-wide Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) Network that will enhance the University's academic and administrative processes.

The N860, 024, 731. 72 Wi-Fi Network project will complement the existing fibre-optics network medium in the University.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the project was signed last Monday (April 14, 2014) by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali, on behalf of the University and the Managing Director, WaveTek Nigeria Limited, Mr. Ken Spann, on behalf of his company.

The Agreement stipulates, among others, that WaveTek would: provide the equipment and other forms of material inputs needed to execute the project; provide the tools needed for the University to monitor the services; introduce tools for the billing and usage of the Wi-Fi services; maintain and support the Wi-Fi Network and provide back-up power facilities for the smooth running of the Wi-Fi Network.

On its part, the University shall provide buildings, land and electricity power necessary to deploy the campus-wide Wi-Fi Network. It will also provide WaveTek with necessary authority to enable the company
to exclusively implement the project; make STM 4 Internet Bandwidth capacity available for the project; and publicise the campus-wide Wi-Fi service.

The partners also agreed to collaborate to establish a T.V. Wide Space (TVWS) Research Department where students and staff of the University can be trained in TVWS technology and create job opportunities for interested students

Speaking to Unilorin Bulletin shortly after the MoU signing ceremony, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ambali, said when completed, the project would complement the existing fibre optics-based internet services on the campus to make connectivity even more efficient, more reliable and more accessible.

Prof. Ambali noted that the technology which WaveTek is bringing is a unique one, which will use TV Wide Service. “This is the first time such technology would be deployed anywhere in the country”, he said.

The Vice-Chancellor pointed out that after the technical discussion with the company and the perfection of the necessary administrative aspect of the project agreement, “We are convinced that the project will be beneficial to the University, as we will be able to provide better internet service 24/7 to our students and staff.”

Prof. Ambali said, “By the time we are able to improve on the transmission of the internet cloud, we will be able to provide internet services to even our neighbouring communities, at a fee of course.”

Also explaining the nitty-gritty of the new project in a chat with Unilorin Bulletin, the Director of the University of Ilorin Computer Services and Information Technology (COMSIT) Unit, Prof Isaac A. Adimula, disclosed that “the uniqueness of the new Wi-Fi services in the light of the existing services being provided is that seamless high-speed internet facilities will now be provided to members of the University community in the comfort of their residents, in staff quarters and student hostels and on the walk-ways.”

Prof. Adimula added that staff and students would be able to have their lectures and submit their assignments wherever they may be on any of the University's four campuses and at any moment.

The COMSIT Director disclosed further that indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi services would be available on the University Main Campus, at the School of Preliminary Studies, Fufu, at the Institute of Education on the Mini Campus and at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Oke-Oyi.

Prof. Adimula pointed out that the increased internet access would be high speed that will be able to support video conferencing. He explained that students would also be able to access the video of their lectures over the internet.

To guard against abuse and illegal internet activities, the Director of COMSIT said that there would be a Network Administrator who would monitor activities and block sites associated with criminal activities and pornography to ensure that the University's platforms are not used to carry out criminal activities.

On when members of the University community will begin to enjoy these unhindered internet services, Prof. Adimula said that the project is scheduled to be completed by October this year and its deployment is expected to coincide with the beginning of the 2014/2015 academic session.

With the Vice-Chancellor at the MoU signing ceremony were Principal Officers of the University and other top officials.