Having achieved 10 per cent penetration of its much-touted 30 per cent broadband penetration target, Nigeria has begun the journey to actualising the remaining 20 per cent broadband penetration, New Telegraph has learnt. Nigeria, two years ago, launched a National Broadband Plan (NBP) 2013-2018, designed to accelerate broadband from six per cent in 2012 to 30 per cent by 2018. From six per cent penetration, Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah, recently claimed at an Internet forum in Lagos, that broadband penetration had now reached 10 per cent. New Telegraph learnt that the current 10 per cent penetration of the total 30 per cent target come 2018, represents about 34 per cent of the overall 30 per cent targeted penetration level.
According to findings, at the time of launching the NBP, penetration stood at just six per cent and within two years, the country has only been able to move four points higher to 10 per cent. As such, Nigeria has just the next three years to achieve the remaining 20 per cent. However, speaking at the presentation of an award to him by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) in Lagos during the week, President of the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Mr. Lanre Ajayi, expressed doubt as to the readiness of the telecoms industry to achieve the remaining 20 per cent broadband penetration target within the next three years. “Currently, we are not doing well in the area of broadband as we have done in the voice segment. In the voice segment, we keep meeting and surpassing forecasts.
So, at the rate at which we are going in the area of broadband growth, I am afraid we may not be able to meet the 30 per cent penetration by 2018,” he said. Ajayi, who congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari for his election, said that ATCON was confident that his administration will bring the necessary change promised during the electioneering campaign, tasking him to pay attention to some key areas for accelerating the industry growth. “Buhari’s administration should focus on enforcement of Cybercrime Act, particularly the section dealing with the protection of National Infrastructure under which telecoms infrastructure also belong; promotion of e-government and e-commerce as a strategy to stimulate demand for broadband access provided by ATCON members, as well as provision of enabling environment.
“Recognising the power of ICT in modern governance and socioeconomic development, we advice the incoming administration to address issue bothering on Right of Ways (RoW), multiple taxations, promotions of Nigerian local content, vandalism of telecoms infrastructures, promotion of e-services as well as acceleration of the implementation of the broadband plan,” he said. While noting that aside challenges around land-mile broadband deployment, he said telecoms operators’ access to adequate spectrum bands is key to ensuring faster broadband network deployment, adding that the NCC should be transparent in its spectrum licensing activities.