Nigeria’s broadband usage has continued to increase significantly. The penetration rate hit 44.5% in the month of July. This appears to be a ray of hope for the NCC in its goal of reaching the national broadband target of 70% by 2025.
According to Industry Statistics released by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), broadband penetration was 40.91% in February 2022, but by July, this had risen to 44.5%, with over 84,950,984 broadband subscriptions.
This is the highest percentage since January 2020, 42.93%.
Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta shared this information during a three-day public telecom regulation and guideline inquiry meeting. During the event, he pointed out the importance of aligning this development with appropriate regulations and guidelines in the sector, particularly for emerging technologies and advancements.
He claimed that these achievements are the outcome of the Commission’s organizational competencies and effective integration of Nigeria’s policies and strategies,
The event was attended by all members of the board of commissioners. According to Danbatta, in order to promote operational efficiency and operational excellence, the public inquiry focused on five focus areas and regulatory instruments.Type Approval RegulationsGuidelines on Short Code Operation in NigeriaGuidelines on Technical Specifications for the Deployment of Communications InfrastructureGuidelines on Advertisements and PromotionsConsumer Code of Practice Regulations
He said that these were among the regulatory instruments under review at the public inquiry.
“With the technological advancements anticipated in the coming years, it is expected that there will be a proliferation of devices in the industry. It is, therefore, essential for the Commission to ensure that the right regulatory frameworks can accommodate such eventualities”, he adds.Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Commission’s Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of NCC
Prof. Dnbatta also affirmed that incorporating the focus areas into some important documents guiding the Commission’s operations has helped achieve this milestone. They include:The Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025The National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030The NCC’s Strategic Management Plan (SMP) 2020-2024Strategic Vision Implementation Plan (SVIP) 2021-2025 are among the documents.
Broadband Penetration in Nigeria
It is interesting to note that the NCC announced that broadband penetration in Nigeria reached 45.07% in November 2020, with 208 million active telephony subscriptions while active internet subscriptions hit 154.9 million. The evident drop in the number to 44% in 2022 indicates a population growth that is unequalled by a penetration rate with time.
But, the trajectory hasn’t always been that way. Between the end of 2016 and 2020, Nigeria recorded a significant 24% rise in broadband penetration from 21% to 45.07%. In other words, the broadband penetration achieved in 2020 was more than double (200%) that of 2016.
The speed was heightened by the successful implementation of the NCC’s national fibre project by licensed Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos).
Since 2015, a total of six InfraCos have been licensed by the commission to roll out bulk broadband infrastructure in different regions across the country. The licensed InfraCos are MainOne (Lagos), Zinox Technology Limited (South-East), Fleek Networks Limited (North-West), Brinks Integrated Solutions Limited (North-East), O’dua InfraCo Resources Limited (South-West) and Reana Consortium Limited (South-South).
It was estimated that the country was likely to attain a broadband penetration of 65% or even more by 2024 if the trajectory continues. If broadband penetration grew by 24% between 2016 and 2020, then it could rise by another 24% between 2020 and 2024 to reach 69% – 4% more than the National Broadband Plan target.
If these existential problems are not resolved, Nigeria may still be far away from glory.