Nigeria broadband penetration has crossed the 35.1% mark in August this year, after the national target of 30% by last year was surpassed, the telecoms regulator says.
Professor Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), who confirmed this in Lagos on Thursday says that the estimated total user base on 3G and 4G networks, which are categorised as broadband networks, peaked at 35.10% in August this year.
In industry parlance, broadband commonly refers to high-speed Internet access that is always on and faster than the traditional dial-up access.
“Also, there were 49.7 million 3G subscriptions equivalent to 26.03 per cent of the population with 17.3 million 4G subscriptions representing 9.07 per cent of the population. Broadband penetration on 3G and 4G, which are categorised as Broadband networks, therefore stood at 35.10 per cent in August, 2019. Professor Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)
Aside from broadband, Nigeria is home to a growing telephony community that peaked at over 170 million active voice connections across the country, according to official data.
Dandbatta, who was represented by Dr. Henry Nkemadu, Director, Public Affairs, NCC told attendees at the Nigeria e-Government Conference organised by DigiServe Networks in Lagos that broadband penetration in the country is on an upward trajectory.
“The Commission exceeded its 30% target for Broadband Penetration in 2018 and will continue its drive towards universal access as detailed in the framework of its 8 Point Agenda. As at August 2019, 2G subscriptions stood at 122.9 million, corresponding to 64.42 per cent of the population.
“Also, there were 49.7 million 3G subscriptions equivalent to 26.03 per cent of the population with 17.3 million 4G subscriptions representing 9.07 per cent of the population. Broadband penetration on 3G and 4G, which are categorised as Broadband networks, therefore stood at 35.10 per cent in August, 2019.
The Nigerian telecoms regulatory chief says the NCC’s drive for pervasive broadband penetration is crucial to deepening access and availability of e-government services to citizens in his keynote on “E-Government: Powering Governance with Information and Communication Technology.”
He cited reports from the United Nations (UN), International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and World Bank to provide information on developments around the prospects of e-government also told the large gathering of audience at the event that the Commission has been working tirelessly to achieve ubiquitous access to the Internet.
“The Commission is actively exploring the utilisation of television white space (TVWS) technology to expand affordable broadband services to rural areas, while we have issued Infrastructure Company (InfraCo) Licences to some organisations to deploy fibre across the geopolitical zones with Access Points in all the 774 local government areas of the Federation.” Professor Umaru Garba Danbatta, EVC of NCC,
Danbatta also recalls the deliberate decision of Nigerian government to embrace e-Government to the National Telecommunications Policy 2000, said that decision led to the growth of e-services and proliferation of government portals providing all kinds of e-services to citizens, businesses and stakeholders who are able to remotely and efficiently enjoy government services with the best known today being the Treasury Single Account (TSA), the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) among several other e-services.
The centre of e-government adoption is the Internet, which, he stated is an important infrastructure that must be available to both the government and the end-user citizens, businesses or other stakeholders to ensure effective interaction with the government.
Under this plan. NCC has continued to push various initiatives to deepen access to the Internet and by extension, broadband services in the country, Danbatta says.
According to him, “The Commission is actively exploring the utilisation of television white space (TVWS) technology to expand affordable broadband services to rural areas, while we have issued Infrastructure Company (InfraCo) Licences to some organisations to deploy fibre across the geopolitical zones with Access Points in all the 774 local government areas of the Federation.”
NCC expects to increase the number of fibre deployment in Nigeria to 127,000 kilometre from its current 42,000 kilometer of fibre connectivity in the country. Through the InfraCo initiative, therefore, the Commission expects additional 30,000 kilometre of fibre to be added. This, he said, is aside the results expected from major Mobile network Operators (MNOs), who also earmark resources, on a yearly basis, to expand their fibre deployment.
According to Danbatta, NCC is also working with the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and other necessary stakeholders towards addressing the perennial industry challenges such as the Right of Way (RoW) issues, multiple taxation and regulation, vandalism/fibre cuts, theft of telecoms equipment, insecurity, power problem, among others – all of which are critical industry issues- impeding fast Broadband infrastructure deployment in the country, which has impacted the level of access to government, businesses and individuals to enjoy e-government services.”
Other key speakers, who spoke at the conference included Ernest Ndukwe, former EVC of NCC; Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON); Olusola Teniola, President, Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON); representatives of other government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and other private sector key players.