Nigeria’s Broadband Penetration Maintains Steady Growth in 20 Months

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Minister of Communications, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami

By Emma Okonji

Nigeria’s Broadband penetration has maintained a steady growth in the last 20 months, after it surpassed the 30 per cent targeted broadband penetration in December 2018, statistics obtained from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) website has shown.

The data also showed that Nigeria’s broadband penetration surpassed the 30 per cent broadband target for December 2018, as enshrined in the previous National Broadband Plan (2013-2018), to reach 31.48 per cent, with a total broadband subscription of 60.09 million.

Since the broadband penetration surpassed its target in December 2018, which was 20 months ago, Nigeria has maintained a steady growth in broadband penetration to reach 42. 12 per cent, with a total subscription number of 80.2 million as at July 2020, according to the statistics.

The NCC statistics on broadband penetration, also showed that as at August 2019, when the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami was sworn into office, broadband penetration was 35.10 per cent, with a total number of 67 million subscriptions, which puts the country’s broadband penetration growth rate at about seven per cent in the past 11 months, based on the 42.12 per cent broadband penetration figure that Nigeria attained as at July this year.

It showed that as of December 2018, Nigeria’s broadband penetration reached 31.48 per cent, but it rose to 32.34 per cent in January 2019, and 33.08 per cent in February 2019, before reaching 33.22 per cent penetration in March same year.

Furthermore, as at April 2019, broadband penetration increased to 33.70 per cent before dropping slightly to 33.13 per cent in May 2019. But in June, July and August 2019, broadband penetration increased to 33.31 per cent, 33.72 per cent and 35.10 per cent respectively. Between September and October 2019, the penetration had another steady growth to reach 35.40 per cent, and 37.87 per cent, before dropping slightly again in November same year to 37.71 per cent.

It however increased again to 37.80 per cent in December 2019, before maintaining another steady growth from January to March 2020, to reach 38.49 per cent, 39.58 per cent, and 39.85 per cent respectively, before dropping slightly to 39.54 per cent in April 2020.

In May 2020, the broadband penetration increased to 40.09 per cent, and in June and July same year, broadband penetration maintained an increased growth of 41.23 per cent and 42.12 per cent respectively, bringing the total number of broadband subscriptions to 80.2 million as at July 2020.

Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, who attributed the steady growth of broadband penetration in the past 20 months to the increase in the demand for broadband service, however said there were indices that drive broadband penetration, which he said the federal government must meet in order to continue having steady growth rate in broadband penetration.

He listed some of the indices to include: Increase in broadband infrastructure, protection of broadband infrastructure and removal of impediments to broadband penetration such as Right of Way (RoW) charges and multiple taxation.

Gbenga, however advised the federal government to introduce friendlier policies in the telecoms sector, such as granting of telecoms importation waiver, saying such would enable broadband service providers to lower the cost of broadband service delivery.