The telecoms regulator has raised hope for over 35 million Nigerians without access to basic telecoms services with a planned optical fibre roll-out.
Nigerians Communications Commission (NCC) statistics reviewed by Technology Times shows that Nigeria recorded 184,699,409, representing 96.76% penetration for active telephone connections at the end of last year. The active Internet subscriber base was 126,078,999 while that of broadband was 72,153,824 (37.80%), within the same period.
Meanwhile, Kenneth Uzoekwe, Assistant Director, Spectrum Administration Department of NCC hinted last week at the Social Media Week Lagos (SMWLagos2020) that there is a ray of hope for over 35 million unconnected Nigerians identified by the telecoms regulator.
Nigerians Communications Commission (NCC) statistics reviewed by Technology Times shows that Nigeria recorded 184,699,409, representing 96.76% penetration for active telephone connections at the end of last year.
Under the plan, NCC has issued licences to six out of seven proposed Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) to deploy fibre access in all the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Nigeria under a plan to promote broadband diffusion across the country.
The telecoms regulator has adopted the Open Access Model for enhanced broadband infrastructure deployment as part of a number of programmes to promote broadband infrastructure deployment in the country.
Uzoekwe says the InfraCo Project will help to bridge the 200 access gaps involving some 35 million Nigerians, who have no access to basic telecom services.
The telecoms regulator also says that Nigeria is ready for commercial deployment of 5G as adequate spectrum bands have been identified for use in next-generation mobile technology supporting faster voice, data and video.
“Six spectrum bands have been identified, so, I can say we have enough spectrum bands. All we need now is to finalise the re-planning and re-farming, so that those occupying certain spectra can be relocated to other bands,” Uzoekwe adds.
Also speaking at the event, Bako Wakil, Director, Technical Standards & Network Integrity, NCC says that Nigeria will derive huge socio-economic benefits from commercial deployment of 5G networks with potentials to drive growth across Nigeria’s socio economic landscape.
Wakil says that all communication possibilities within the framework of ITU’s IMT-2020 that enhance extremely accurate and near-instantaneous transfer of large quantities of data are well within the contemplation of 5G.
Such technologies will also deliver better experience of virtual realities, driverless cars, drone operations and a spectrum of possibilities popularly called the Internet of Things (IoT).
Wakil explains that 5G is the newest generation of technology which “will bring about transformation in the country in the area of smart city, smart transportation, efficiency in medicine, a lot of automation, and 5G will control a lot of appliances and devices with respect to Internet of Things (IoT).”
According to him, “the difference between all other existing generations of technologies such as 2G, 3G and 4G lies in speed and data capacity. The 5G deployment, however, offers even faster speed, high latency and high capacity that will transform consumers and business experiences.”
Responding to questions on radiation level of a 5G network, Wakil allayed the fears of the participants when he says that, “generally, there is every reason for people to be apprehensive with respect to the radiation of a new technology such as 5G. However, the radiation from 5G is non-ionising. Non-ionising radiation cannot cause adverse health effects in humans. So, radiation in 5G is going to be minimal and not harmful.”
The two major challenges to 5G network deployment are energy and infrastructure, he says noting that while the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is coordinating the NCC, the National Frequency Management Council, and the National Broadband Plan to address broadband infrastructure deficits, the poor state of electricity supply in the country needs to be addressed by other sectors of the economy because that matter is outside the purview of the telecoms regulator.
Nigeria recorded the first non-commercial Proof of Concept (PoC) trail of 5G network in Nigeria conducted by Nigeria’s biggest mobile phone company, MTN Nigeria and facilitated by NCC in what the regulator says demonstrates the possibilities of 5G operations in Nigeria, preparatory to the commercial launch of the service by telecoms operators.