*As internet users hit 100m
By Oghenevwede Ohwovoriole in Abuja
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, has disclosed that the next national Broadband plan will see the country achieving 70% broadband penetration within the next five years (2024).
He made this disclosure Wednesday at the commission’s Headquarters in Abuja.
Prof. Danbatta while addressing the management team of Airtel Africa said that, “We are steadily seeing increase in broadband penetration. As at February, there is a new target of 70% in the next five years….So far, no official announcement has been made on that by the minister.
“I am sure government will come up with official announcement on the new national Broadband plan, Phase 2. In the area of data usage, there is also steady increase in data usage. We are again seeing that from 4G network services.
“It is important to talk about other statistics. As at February 2019, 174million Nigerian had access to telecom voice services. And the number is steadily rising. Internet penetration too in real terms is 100milion.”
He commended Airtel Nigeria for being a major player in the expansion of broadband penetration, saying “it is good to see Airtel providing services, especially 4G services. It is also good to hear the level of expansion because we are seeing remarkable improvement in broadband penetration.
“The figures are going up. We are at about 33% now. This we can attribute to very ambitious expansion of network operators like Airtel in places like Lagos, Kano, Rivers, Ibadan, Abuja. This lends credence to figures we are seeing from broadband penetration.
“We are seeing increase in broadband subscription, especially to services provided by Airtel. It is good for Nigerians to hear this that Airtel is helping us to hit the broadband penetration target.”
Speaking further, he said, “we were supposed to achieve 30% as at December 2018 but we have exceeded that target courtesy of national Broadband Plan.
He added that henceforth, whatever percentage increase NCC will give out in percentage terms will be in reference to the existing Nigerian population, saying all growth parameters are steadily growing courtesy of expansion programme on 4G operators in the country, especially Airtel.
CEO Airtel Nigeria, Mr. Segun Ogunsanya, in his reaction said, his organisation was pleased to be at NCC.
“And we also wish you continuous success as you regulate and lead the industry and recognise us as one of the leading telecom companies in the country. We create wealth, support and connect people”, he stated.
Mr. Raqhunath Mandava, MD/CEO Airtel Africa, while responding to questions said, “Nigeria is the fastest growing market and also one of the biggest markets in Africa; it is a very critical market for us as we expand broadband penetration and we are committed to have very heavy investment and help digitalise the country.”