Challenges facing Broadband Plan in Nigeria – NCC


The Nigerian Communications Commission lists challenges facing broadband plan in the country to include multiple regulations, right of way and delayed permits  

By Anayo Ezugwu

NIGERIA broadband penetration has increased to 32.34 percent in January 2019 from 31.48 percent in December 2018. Latest figures from the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, showed that the number of 3G and 4G subscriptions in the country hit 61.7 million as of January this year.

Broadband penetration is typically measured by the percentage of the total population with access to broadband networks out of each hundred. According to NCC, the broadband penetration can be calculated by taking the total active broadband subscription figure of 61,732,130 and divide it by the population figure of 190,886,311 (using the United Nations’ projection as at December 2017).

The country set a five-year National Broadband Plan, which ran from 2013 to 2018, with the target of a minimum of 30 percent broadband penetration from the five per cent it had in 2013. The NCC had said based on the 190 million population of Nigeria and 169 million connected lines, those who had access to broadband at a speed of 1.5 megabytes per second covered over 30 per cent of the population as at December 2018.

In December 2018, NCC data indicated that the country had attained a broadband penetration of 31.48 per cent. At a stakeholders’ forum in Abuja, recently, Umar Danbatta, executive vice-chairman, NCC, noted that multiple regulations, right of way and delayed permits were some of the challenges affecting the broadband plan.

To address the challenges limiting the plan, Danbatta said the NCC deliberately developed a Strategic Vision Plan which was in line with the commission’s strategic management plan. “The implementation of the commission’s SVP roadmap has so far resulted in the attainment of 30.9 per cent broadband penetration as of November 2018.

“What this connotes is that a total of 58,965,478 were connected to the broadband networks out of 108,457,051 Internet subscribers in the nation’s telecom networks. The figures rose in December to 60,087,199 taking the penetration to 31.48 percent. Yet even more pertinent to broadband penetration is the fact that six infrastructure companies have been licensed to drive the development of infrastructure across the nation’s geographical zones and Lagos,” he said.

Following the end of the five-year National Broadband Plan in December 2018, the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria, ATCON, has to set the broadband target for the next five years. Olusola Teniola, president, ATCON, said it is possible for the country to achieve 70 percent broadband penetration in another five years since the country had been able to exceed 30 percent target despite the challenges.

He said this would be possible if there were stable political environment, partnership and collaboration among the critical stakeholders in the telecoms industry. “No doubt the plan has helped all stakeholders to have a focus as to what to be done to participate fully in deepening the broadband penetration which target then was 30 percent and the current NCC data released suggests that the figure stood at 32 percent,” he said.

The federal government in 2013 issued the National Broadband Plan (2013-2018), which sets penetration targets for both fixed and mobile broadband throughout Nigeria. Of the many targets set by the document, the most prominent one was the projection that Nigeria must reach 30 percent broadband penetration by December 2018. There was doubt about the country’s ability to reach this target before the December 31, 2018 deadline. But at the end Nigeria reached and surpassed the 30 percent broadband target.

– Mar. 15, 2019 @ 13:45 GMT |

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