Nigeria is seeking $100 million funding from India to develop broadband in rural areas, Dr Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications says.
The Minister dropped the hint on Thursday while speaking at a gathering to review Post – Nigeria National Broadband Plan 2013 – 2018 Conference organised by organised by the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) held in Abuja.
The Minister confirmed talks underway between the Nigeria and Indian governments, and says that if the two nation close a deal, the the funds will address local programmes to improve broadband services in rural areas.
Nigeria recently said it achieved the 30% minimum target set in the National Broadband Plan in which the country moved from 5% mark in 2013 over the last five years.
Nigeria recently said it achieved the 30% minimum target set in the National Broadband Plan in which the country moved from 5% mark in 2013 over the last five years. NCC
Shittu believes that the 70% suggested by experts at the ATCON gathering is not impossible to achieve by Nigeria.
According to him, government is also undertaking programmes to improve the infrastructure base and enhance doing business in Nigeria.
The Minister says that Nigeria has developed critical policies to guide industry stakeholders and engender trust among investors including the eGovernment Masterplan, the ICT Roadmap and the Local Content Guidelines, among others.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator says that Nigeria has attained 31 per cent broadband penetration by the end of last year.
The broadband figures has attracted some doubts but the telecoms regulator says its conclusion were “based on empirical indices.”
“This is contrary to insinuations in some quarters that the country was far away from that as claimed by some”, NCC says.
“By the five year National Broadband Plan (NBP), (2013-2018), it was targeted that the country should be able to attain a minimum of 30% from the 5% it had in 2013 in five years.
“Expectedly based on the population of Nigeria estimated of 190m, and connected lines of 169m, those who have access to broadband at a speed of 1.5 megabytes per second cover over 30% of this population”, the telecoms regulator adds.
According to NCC, “despite perceived drawbacks in the sector, the telecommunications remains one of the most consistent enablers of the economy and the economic wellbeing of the citizenry with over 10.43% contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2018, boosting employment both directly and indirectly and providing a robust infrastructure backbone to facilitate high level efficiency in all areas of the economy.”
The agency says that based on World Bank index, “increasing broadband by just 10% in developing countries would deliver at least 1.38% GDP increase per capita while a 10% increase in Internet penetration would lead to about 1.12% increase in GDP per capita.”
NCC says that based on its data, there were a total of 168,729,005 mobile “GSM” mobile subscribers in Nigeria as at November 2018. Of these, 108,457,051 were subscribed to Internet access services provided by the major operators. In terms of broadband services, a total of 58,965,478 connected to the Internet through 3G and 4G networks (including those provided by the Long Term Evolution (LTE)-only service providers such as Smile and nTel). -NCC
To realise that, the Federal Government set up the NBP (2013-2018) with a target of 30% by 2018. The figures doubled between 21 and 22% in the months before November 2018, according to the telecoms regulator.
NCC says that based on its data, there were a total of 168,729,005 mobile “GSM” mobile subscribers in Nigeria as at November 2018. Of these, 108,457,051 were subscribed to Internet access services provided by the major operators. In terms of broadband services, a total of 58,965,478 connected to the Internet through 3G and 4G networks (including those provided by the Long Term Evolution (LTE)-only service providers such as Smile and nTel).
“This distinction is critical because Nigerians predominantly rely on mobile networks to access the Internet, including broadband networks since the fixed broadband access which was to have been led by the erstwhile state incumbent – NITEL – is now literally non-existing”, NCC adds.
“Now, broadband penetration is typically measured by the percentage of total population with access to Broadband networks out of each hundred. So, if we take the total active broadband subscription figure of 58,965,478 and divide by the population figure of 190,886,311 (using the UN’s projection as at December 2017), we come to a penetration percentage of 30.9%.
“Issues can of course be raised about using the UN figure as baseline – one supposes that the NCC used that figure for consistency since that appears to be the baseline used by the ITU in earlier studies. However, the reader is invited to use other population baselines and come with the above resolute. For instance, if we use the Nigerian Population Commission’s 2006 figure of 140 million, we come to a broadband penetration rate of 42.1%. Most would agree that this would be rather unrealistic, as is the population estimate of 140 million.
“Also, looking through the ITU Broadband Commission’s September 2018 Report, one would see that Nigeria’s Broadband penetration rate is set at an abysmal 19.9%. This cannot be the case, since that report is based on industry statistics of December 2017, which was clearly outdated as at September 2018 when the report was published.
Clearly therefore, the NCC’s assertion that Nigeria has attained 30.9% broadband penetration is logical and supported by available data in the Commission’s custody.”