FG targets 50% broadband penetration by 2020 - Sundiata Tech


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Monday, December 18, 2017

FG targets 50% broadband penetration by 2020

Federal Government on Monday unveiled plans to deepen broadband telecommunication service in Nigeria from 30 percent in 2018 and 50 percent by year 2020 in tandem with the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (EGRP).

Currently, the country’s has achieved 20.95 percent broadband internet penetration and 93.5 million subscribers as at August 2016.

According to National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report, Nigeria’s telecom sector contributed N1.452 trillion or 9.16 percent into the country’s GDP as at Q1 2017, though lower than Q4 2016 contribution of N1.663 trillion; N1.399 trillion in Q3 2017; N1.589 trillion in Q2 2016 and N1.412 trillion in Q1 2016 respectively.

As part of its policy, plans are also underway to build metro fibre network in all major cities and state capital; extend international cable landing points to other coastal states, spread 3G/LTE to at least 80 percent of the population, noting that “Nigeria does not have 4G/LTE despite claims by some telecom operators,” Lawal Bello of Communications Research Group from Department of Electrical Engineering, Bayero University, Kano said.

According to him, total optic fibre backbone infrastructure laid cross the country, which currently stands at 37,104 is inadequate.

Speaking earlier, Saheed Akinade-Fijabi, chairman, House Committee on Telecommunication who spoke at the One-day retreat with the theme: ‘Improving the socio-economic development of the nation through qualitative telecommunication services,’ reiterated the Committee’s resolve towards enacting relevant laws that will help in boosting telecoms infrastructure in the country.

“The importance of telecommunication in any economy is self-evident either in a developed or developing one as there exists an interwoven relationship between the economic development of a country and effective telecommunication services. This establishes the assertion that most developed nations have the more developed telecommunications infrastructures and services.

“However, modernity in telecommunications has provided facilities that make for new class of service, improved revenue generation with properly reviewed tariff policy. As of September 2017, Nigeria has almost 140 million active lines indicating a teledensity of 99.93%.

“Moreso, the Telecommunication industry has been a major contributor to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and such industry contributing between 7 to 10 percent annually from 2010 till date to the nation’s GDP should be supported by all stakeholders to attain its full potentialities.

“The telecommunications industry has been the bridge builder bringing together buyers and sellers and facilitating the flow of information, making it a key driver of trade. The growth of this industry in Nigeria gave rise to new businesses such as Jumia, Konga, Mobile Money and other online services thereby creating new set of entrepreneurs contributing their quota to the socio-economic development of the country.

“Recent International Telecommunications Union (ITU) data shows that flows of international telephone traffic closely mirror the patterns of international trade. Indeed, variations in telephone traffic can be used as a leading indicator of national economic performance.

“Telecommunication has been a major player in agriculture by providing easy and fast access information on up-to-date market and price, improved seeds, availability of fertilizers, weather forecasting, pest control and other agricultural-related services to farmers and traders.

“Furthermore, telecommunication plays an important role in politics and governance, by enhancing a government’s ability to provide security for its citizens, protect its borders and more efficiently handle civil emergencies and national disasters. In turn, the citizens gain easier access to government and greater awareness of government programmes and activities. An informed populace helps protect and strengthen the democratic process.

“Having expounded the importance of this industry to the socio-economic development of Nigeria, you will agree with me that this industry should be given necessary support and impetus to attain its full potentialities by all critical stakeholders,” Akinade-Fijabi said.

In his speech, Umar Dambatta, Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) applauded the support of the Committee towards overcoming various challenges facing the industry.

“In the course of achieving an effective regulation for the benefit of all and in creating an enabling environment for growth, issues and challenges are bound to arise. Hence, this retreat gives us opportunity to seek your cooperation in carrying out our mandate as the independent regulator of the telecommunication industry. We shall remain fair, firm and forthright always,” Dambatta who was represented by Inatimi Spiff, NCC’s Head of Legislative & Government Relations, Public Affairs Department, pledged.

On her part, Monilola Udoh, Director, ICT, Federal Ministry of Communications reiterated the Ministry’s commitment towards the implementation of the 8-point ICT Strategic Roadmap 2017-2020 approved by Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the telecom industry.

Udoh also underlined the strong commitment of the National Assembly towards achieving “deeper and more collaboration that will enable the telecom industry to play its dental role in the nation’s development process, by churning out forward-looking policies chiefly through inclusion of telecom infrastructure as critical government assets into the Communications Act.

“Inspite of the Ministry’s successes, challenges bedeviling telecom service delivery still exist in the industry, notable amongst them are issues related to Right of Way (RoW), power, vandalism of telecommunications infrastructure, multiple taxation, unfavourable foreign exchange regime, conflict of roles and responsibilities amongst government agencies, inadequate network capacity, collocation pricing and competition, all these undermine the quality of telecom service in Nigeria,” she observed.

Udoh also disclosed that the Ministry has commenced activities that would lead to the establishment of a ‘telecommunications critical infrastructure bill.’

According to her, network and stakeholders in the industry have made useful contributions to the draft document, which will enable government to rank telecommunications infrastructure, with the view to determine which should enjoy priority protection as well as specify definite sanctions for wilful destruction of communications infrastructure.

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