Nigeria Moves up from 10% to 14% Broadband Penetration

  • NCC optimistic of 30% penetration by 2018

Emma Okonji

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), monday in Lagos, revealed that broadband penetration in the country has moved from 10 per cent in 2014 to 14 per cent in 2016.

It also assured Nigerians of the possibility of attaining the planned 30 per cent broadband penetration by 2018, as projected in the country’s National Broadband Plan.

The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, who made the disclosure yesterday at a stakeholders’ forum organised by NCC to announce Nigeria’s participation at the forthcoming ITU Telecoms World 2016 which would take place in Bangkok, Thailand, from November 14 to 17, an annual telecoms programme put together since 1971 by the International Telecoms Union (ITU).

Danbatta said he was convinced based on the broadband infrastructure on ground, that it is not impossible for the county to attain 30 per cent broadband penetration by 2018, contrary to widespread speculations that Nigeria may not meet the country’s projected broadband plan of attaining 30 per cent broadband penetration by the said year.

“As we speak, Nigeria has moved from 10 per cent broadband penetration to 14 per cent, and the penetration is expected to increase more with the rollout of 2.3GHz broadband services by Bitflux Consortium that won the 2.3GHz broadband spectrum licence,” Danbatta said.

Also, NCC has licenced two infrastructure companies for Lagos and North Central, including Abuja. Five more licences are underway for North-west, North-east, South-west, South-south and South-east.

“Our processes are being fine-tuned to actualise the licencing rounds. By the time all these are put in place, broadband penetration will increase and surpass the 30 per cent penetration by 2018,” Danbatta added.

He said although the ICT sector has recorded a very significant growth in the last 15 years when the country moved from 500,000 active lines to 157 million active lines and surpassed the 100 per cent threshold for teledensity to 107 per cent, there is still much to be done to boost broadband penetration in the country.

“Mobile internet connectivity climbed from 50,000 in 2001 to its current 97 million. We have over $35 billion foreign direct investment (FDIs) and local investments are also in billions of dollar. Our success story is very long but we as the regulators are not resting on our oars, believing that we are largely there.

“There is a gap in our broadband sector and we hope to bridge this gap by attracting foreign investors to invest in broadband,” the NCC boss stated.

He said the need to attract investors remained the reason NCC is mobilising Nigerian companies and multinationals doing businesses in Nigeria, including individuals, to participate in this year’s ITU conference.

“We are going to Bangkok in Thailand to showcase our products and solutions and to attract foreign investors to come to Nigeria and invest in broadband,” he added.
NCC, he said, would be showcasing some Nigerian technology startups that have developed viable solutions that address immediate needs of the country.