Nigeria’s target of reaching 30 per cent broadband penetration as enshrined in the National Broadband Plan 2013-2018 may soon be realised going by a new initiative led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, state governors and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to build additional 18,000 kilometres of fibre optic cable to the national backbone powered through four operators.
Executive vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Danbatta, who revealed this during a courtesy visit by the newly- elected national executive of the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) at the commission’s headquarters said Main one, IHS Nigeria Limited, Broadbased and Phase 3 Telecom have been appointed to lay the fibre optic infrastructure across the country.
Danbatta, said during Osinbajo’s meeting with Nigeria Governors Forum , he used the opportunity to make a presentation to them in respect of Right of Way and the governors appeared to buy into the initiative of laying fibre which would cover up to 18000km in Nigeria and the initiative would be solely driven by the vice president and with this initiative, solutions shall be proffered to the challenges caused by right of ways and the 30 per cent broadband penetration target set would be met and surpassed.
He also spoke on some benefits that come with high broadband penetration and emphasized the need for quality critical infrastructure. He said high broadband penetration would drive education, health, financial, transportation and agriculture sectors, noting that concerted effort must be directed towards broadband penetration in Nigeria.
Danbatta said if critical infrastructures were allowed to be situated in all Nigerian states, it would create a win –win situation for both states government and operators.
“Digital transformation would change our country socially, economically and it would further lead to youth empowerment, foster e-learning, and open our society more,” he said.
Danbatta said the interconnectivity debts stands as today at N165 billion and NCC was concerned with how to resolve the issue noting that recently a meeting was held to proffer some long- lasting solutions to the issue.
He said a pragmatic plan needs to be put in place to mitigate incidence of interconnectivity debts in the industry as it was causing a lot of unnecessary distractions for the commission adding that the commission would appreciate an approach from ATCON to address the issue before it grows beyond what it is.
He commended ATCON for its advocacy in respect of cybercrime levy of 0.005 and said the sector has contributed N1.43trillion to the country’s GDP and there was the need to talk more about the performance of the industry. He said the contribution of N1.43 trillion was achieved because of the progressive regulatory framework put in place by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) which has also attracted further investment into the sector.
Earlier, Olushola Teniola, president of ATCON informed Danbatta about ATCON‘s Broadband and Technology Investment Forum to make sure that broadband penetration in Nigeria was high. ATCON plans to stage this forum in three states: Kano, Akwa-Ibom and Osun.
“The strategic objectives of this initiative is to promote greater awareness about the state’s technology and broadband investments potentials; identify viable technology investment projects for both the private and public sectors; increase government and private investments and spending in Broadband Infrastructure,” said Teniola.