Nigeria’s new broadband policy has increased broadband penetration by five per cent, the minister of communications and digital economy, Isa Pantami, has said.
Mr Pantami, in a statement signed by the agency’s spokesperson, Henry Nkemmadu, on Thursday said the increase occurred in less than one year.
Broadband is a term synonymous with a high-speed connection to the internet.
While noting that the implementation of the new policy had started fully, the official said the policy resulted in broadband penetration currently at 40.1 per cent, up from 35.1 per cent in August, 2019.
The National Bureau of Statistics had published a report that indicated the ICT industry contributed 14.07 per cent to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first quarter of 2020.
The official said the increased broadband penetration will help Nigeria achieve increased GDP growth.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is saddled with the responsibility of leading the team that will ensure effective monitoring and steering of the overall implementation of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) 2020-2025.
Meanwhile, Mr Pantami inaugurated NCC’s Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, Ubale Maska, as the Chairman of the Broadband Implementation Steering Committee (BISC)
While inaugurating the committee in Abuja on Thursday, he said they are to ensure “effective monitoring for implementation of the National Broadband Plan (NBP), 2020- 2025.”
Mr Pantami said the committee was part of the “ongoing journey for a Digital Nigeria, which had received a boost since his assumption of office in August, 2019.”
“The journey started with the approval for the transformation of the ministry and its parastatals in October, 2019 from mere ICT institutions to digital economy institutions by the President.
“This was followed by the unveiling of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) in November, 2019 and the development of a new NBP 2020-2025, which was launched by the President in March 19, 2020,” he said.
He said all the efforts were meant to put Nigeria on the global digital economy map, supported by robust broadband infrastructure.
He noted that under the NDEPS, “solid infrastructure components which is the 3rd pillar will provide the bedrock for the realisation of the country’s digital economy vision.”
“In the new National Broadband Plan, there are many targets. Principal of which are to cover 90 per cent of Nigerian population with broadband access and 70 per cent broadband penetration by 2025.
“We also plan to achieve a broadband speed of 25 megabits per second (mbps) in urban areas and 10 mbps in rural areas by the end of implementation of the new Broadband plan,” Mr Pantami said.
He said the problems of right of way, protection for telecom infrastructure and multiple taxations, “are critical to fast-track broadband infrastructure deployment and these are being addressed from all fronts.”
He added that the efforts are already yielding positive results with the engagement of relevant stakeholders including state government and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).
The committee draws membership from the ministry and agencies under its supervision, including the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), World Bank, Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), among others.