FG Inaugurates Committee on National Broadband

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The federal government has inaugurated the Steering and Implementation Committee for the National Broadband Policy to drive the digital economy policy of the current administration.

It charged the committee members to deliver on the agenda of achieving for Nigeria 70 per cent broadband penetration by the year 2025.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, who inaugurated the committee in his office in Abuja, said work had already started on the National Broadband Plan as the country has attained 40.18 per cent broadband penetration.

He said the Committee headed by the Executive Commissioner, Technical Services of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mr. Ubale Maska, has the responsibility of engaging critical stakeholders within the nation’s telecom ecosystem to ensure the smooth implementation of the policy documents of the National Broadband Policy.

Pantami said: “This committee has the mandate to ensure that 90 per cent of Nigeria population has access to broadband, while it is also expected that the country achieve 70 per cent broadband penetration by year 2025. The increase in broadband will also bring about increase in the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of the country. So our economic will grow by either seven per cent increase in GDP or 10 per cent.

“The time we started this, the broadband penetration was 31 per cent but based on the report released by the NCC just last week, the broadband penetration now is 40.18 percent. Within that period, we achieved almost 10 percent of broadband penetration in less than a
year.

“The new broadband plan was designed to deliver data download speeds across Nigeria of a minimum of 25Mbps in urban areas, and 10 Mbps in rural areas with effective coverage available to at least 90 per cent of the population by 2025 at a price not more than N390 per 1GB of data (that is, two per cent of median income or one per cent of minimum wage)”

The minister explained that following the launch of the National Broadband Policy by the President, certain steps have been taken by the authorities to address major challenges inhibiting the growth and development
of the telecommunication industry.

Pantami added : “We have taken up the issues of Right of Way (RoW) with the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, headed by Dr. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and the outcome of our discussions have been positive.

“Some governors have reduced Right of Way charges considerably in their states, while others are not charging again. We commend the governors of Ekiti, Kaduna, Kwara, Gombe and others who are taking the lead in this regard.

“It is heart-warming that Mr. President has also directed that the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) should coordinate the protection of telecommunications and ICT infrastructures across the country.

“And an Executive Order is right on the table of Mr. President on the protection of the nation’s National Critical Infrastructures. The Executive Order is expected to accommodate everything regarding the ICT sector in the country”.

The minister further explained implementation of the broadband policy goes beyond access to internet, stressing that government is targeting the transformation of the economy with the creation of millions of jobs, higher standard of living for the people as well as economic growth and development for the country.