By Emma Okonji
Few days after Nigeria surpassed the 30 per cent broadband penetration target to hit 30.9 per cent, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Association of Licenced Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), have assured of last-mile broadband connectivity that will open up more access to the internet at higher speed of connectivity.
Both the NCC and ALTON gave the promise in Lagos, at the fourth quarter forum organised by the Nigeria Information Technology Reporter’s Association (NITRA), with the theme: Achieving Last-Mile Connectivity Through Affordable Broadband.
The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, who was represented by the Deputy Director and Head, Special Intervention Project at NCC, Dr. Henry Nkemadu, said the theme provided the NCC the opportunity to outline its efforts as a regulator, at ensuring the provision of broadband infrastructure across the country to achieve last-mile connectivity.
“The NCC’s activities impact on efficient improvements in service delivery that enable national development, and the NCC’s role ensures the development of basic voice and data communications for Nigeria, providing ubiquitous, affordable access to communications services for all citizenry, to ensure the transformation and regeneration of the national space and economy in all its facets, using the medium of telecommunications,” Danbatta said
The Chairman of ALTON, Gbenga Adebayo, who was represented by the Chairman, Technical Committee at ALTON, Aremu Olajide, commended the efforts of NCC and the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) for the feat in surpassing the 30 per cent broadband penetration target before the December 31 deadline.
He, however called for the continuous support of government and the private sector, to enable MNOs achieve more and serve Nigerian subscribers better. Olajide, expressed dissatisfaction over the situation, where state governments impose multiple taxes on telecoms operators, a situation he said, was inimical telecoms growth across the country.
Danbatta, said the Nigerian telecommunications industry had experienced significant growth in telephony penetration, and broadband internet penetration.
He also stressed the need to support and encourage MNOs to achieve more.
According to Danbatta, from a modest number of about 400,000 fixed and 25,000 mobile telephone lines in 2001, the figure grew by the year end 2007, as the industry recorded nearly 42 million active subscriber line connections and by October 2018, the industry recorded 165,239,443 million active mobile subscriber line connections.
Teledensity has risen from 0.04 per cent in 2000 to over 118.03 per cent in October 2018. Number of active mobile Internet subscribers was 107,106,975 as at October 2018 and by November 2018, it has risen to 169 million subscribers. Active internet subscribers also rose to 109 million.
“Our commitment to achieve broadband internet availability, accessibility and affordability, is hinged on broadband deployment across the country.
“Facilitation of broadband penetration is the number one item and flagship of our 8-Point Agenda. The potentials in broadband penetration is enormous which explains why the entire global community is investing huge resources to exploit and assimilate broadband that is expected to guide global economic index of development in the future,” Danbatta said.