FG Woos Swedish Govt over Broadband Infrastructure Deployment

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Minister of Communications, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami

Emma Okonji

The federal government, through the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has urged the Swedish Government to support Nigeria’s quest to deploy more robust broadband infrastructure in the country for economic growth and prosperity.

The minister, who made the call yesterday in Abuja at a dinner hosted by the Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Carl-Michael G
rans, said Nigeria embarked on a digital transformation journey, and efforts were ongoing to ensure evacuation of the massive data capacity at landing points to hinterland.

Pantami, who was represented by the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, said: “We have a plan to move the massive capacity from landing point to hinterland. To do that, we know we have to put in place the necessary infrastructure that will facilitate it. We would, therefore, want the Swedish Government to buy into this great idea of deploying this massive broadband infrastructure which is fibre-driven.”

According to him, the project would see a quantum access of 10gbps internet connectivity in each of the 774 local government areas in the country.

“We appreciate the important intervention that you are giving to this country, especially to this sector of the economy. The statistics are there for all to see. The broadband penetration, for instance, is about 40 per cent but this is 40 per cent of close to 200 million people, which translates to about 80 million Nigerians having access to high speed internet together with the volume associated with broadband networks,” he explained.

The minister, however, noted that as the country’s population is close to 200 million, the government would not rest on its laurels until all of them have access to high speed internet as well as the volume associated with the network.
On the internet penetration, Pantami observed that figures recently released by the NCC indicated that almost 125 million Nigerians have access, but lamented that close to 31 million Nigerians are still within unserved and underserved areas.
Nigeria achieved its five-year national broadband target of 30 per cent in December 2018, and since then, the level of penetration has remained steady.