Broadband penetration reaches 45.43%, as NCC to consult with stakeholders ahead 5G deployment

[By VICTOR NZE]

Broadband penetration in Nigeria has hit 45.43 per cent as at October 2020.

Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Issa Pantami

The development follows an increase of 4,061,731 broadband subscriptions between September and October 2020, as disclosed by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Issa Pantami.

This is as the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has assured that the new 5G technology will be deployed in the country but only after due consultations with relevant stakeholders in the industry.

A statement signed by the Technical Assistant (Information Technology) to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr ‘Femi Adeluyi, Wednesday, quoted Pantami as saying that the notable increase in broadband penetration has been as a result of conscientious implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy for the overall benefit of the economy to achieve a Digital Nigeria.

“In particular, the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020-2025), along with the harmonization of Right of Way charges across the states and protection of critical national infrastructure across the country, amongst others, has had a significant impact on the broadband penetration.

“Broadband is critical to sustainable economic growth and according to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Broadband Series, broadband contributes to economic growth through more efficiency in business processes, acceleration of innovation and more efficient functional deployment of enterprises.

“A Report titled; ‘How Important Are Mobile Broadband Networks for Global Economic Development,’ shows that 10% increase in mobile broadband penetration results in approximately 0.6% to 2.8% rise in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In some countries, it increases the GDP by over 6%.

“The increase in broadband penetration is leading to the growth of Nigeria’s economy in a way that transcends the ICT sector. Broadband has supported growth and enabled financial institutions in the delivery of services to their customers. It has also enabled the provision of digital services across the different sectors of the economy.

“It is noteworthy that all these are part of the digital economy, which has been defined as “that part of economic output derived solely or primarily from digital technologies with a business model based on digital goods or services” – consisting of the digital sector plus emerging digital and platform services,” the minister.

The statement also informed that Pantami has directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), as the regulators of Internet services, to ensure that quality of service improves.

“Dr Pantami would also like to urge all stakeholders to keep supporting the Ministry in the implementation of the Broadband Plan for the overall benefit of the economy,” the statement concluded.

Meanwhile, in a statement issued, Tuesday, the NCC said it was yet to conclude plans on how the technology would be used in the country.

“For the avoidance of doubt, as with the previous technologies such as 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G, the commission will not commence 5G deployment without due consultation with all relevant stakeholders,” the statement said.

The NCC explained that the recently published draft consultation document on 5G was just to give an update, stressing that the document defines the implementation plan for the deployment of 5G in Nigeria, providing a background into the benefits of 5G technology and outlining the commission’s plans and strategies for a successful implementation of 5G in Nigeria.

It further stated that the document presents guidelines for the relevant areas of the technology and its expectations from operators and all the stakeholders in the communications industry in Nigeria.

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