The new broadband plan seeks to deliver data download speeds across Nigeria at a minimum of 25Mbps in urban areas, and 10Mbps in rural areas, with effective coverage available to at least 90% of the population and penetration rate of 70% by 2025 at a price not more than N390 per 1GB of data; 2% of median income or 1% of minimum wage.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami on Thursday, 25th March 2021, at the ATCON Virtual Structured Engagement 2021while giving his address titled, “Enhancing The Contributions Of Stakeholders Towards The Nigerian National Broadband Plan Through Enabling Policies.”
Dr. Pantami reiterated that the plan targets the deployment of nationwide fibre coverage to reach all State Capitals and provision of a point of presence in at least 90% of Local Government Headquarters.
“It also targets tertiary educational institutions, major hospitals in each state and fibre connectivity at statutory rates of N145/meter for Right of Way (RoW), he said.
He further said that Broadband technology is a contributor to economic growth at several levels. It supports the development of the digital economy, consequently improving the nation’s traditional economy.
“Broadband enhances financial inclusion, security, education and is a key enabler for all the other sectors of the economy.
Pantami reiterated that in order to achieve these targets, the plan focused on recommendations in 4 focus areas, namely: Infrastructure; Policy; Demand Drivers and Funding/Incentives.
He further broke down the 4 focus areas into 55 initiatives towards the actualization of the targets. (Infrastructure (Infrastructure- 14, Policy – 23, Demand Drivers- 12, Funding & Initiatives- 6).
“Infrastructure is focused on building integrated infrastructure that is sustainable and resilient to close the gaps in addressing the broadband needs of the country and is geared towards extending broadband services to undeserved and underserved areas in Nigeria. The Policy pillar addresses issues relating to the efficient use of spectrum, right of way, site acquisition policies, availability of infrastructure and market efficiency.
“Demand Drivers address barriers to the low usage rate and adoption of broadband services in the Country. Funding/Incentives identify the relevant financial incentives, fiscal policy, economic models and funding options to help the achievement of broadband penetration targets.
“The diligent implementation of the recommendations in these focus areas through a multi-stakeholder approach will give the country a push into economic prosperity and create opportunities for job creation and innovation that will influence the GDP positively.
He said the outcome of his meeting at the National Economic Council (NEC) where he made a detailed presentation on the importance of broadband to the economy of the country and discussed the impact of ICT and telecoms on the economy, as reported by the National Bureau of Statistics in the 4th Quarter GDP Report. The ICT sector grew by 14.70% in the 4th Quarter, over 4 times the next fastest growing sector. Furthermore, the ICT sector also grew by 12.90% in 2020, more than 3 times the growth rate of the second fastest growing sector. These statistics do not even include digital services, which constitute a major part of the digital economy. He then emphasized the need for the Governors to abide by the earlier resolution of N145/linear metre.
Some of the progress recorded New National Broadband Plan includes: Broadband penetration significantly increased to 45.07% by November 2020; State governments adopted the N145/meter and a few of these States have even waived the fee altogether; The average cost of 1GB of data has reduced to N487.18 in November 2020, surpassing the target of achieving N700/1GB by 2023; the telecommunications sector recorded a growth rate of 15.90% in the year 2020 from 11.41% in 2019 and 11.33% in 2018, making it the highest growth rate in the last 10 years. This performance is unprecedented. President Buhari directed the security agencies to protect all Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) across the country as the Nigerian Communications Commission has been directed to engage stakeholders in order to have a legislation that criminalizes any one that vandalizes equipment identified as a CNI; an Open Access Model has been developed to support fibre connectivity across the country with the aim of achieving the 120,000km fibre reach. We have had an increase from 47,000km to 54,725km; the 3G/4G Base Station Transceivers (BTS) have increased from 30,000 to 53,460; regarding the deployment of National Satellite Broadband, NIGCOMSAT is in discussion with some operators to provide mobile back haul solutions to about 1000 sites in the remote undeserved areas and the process for getting a backup satellite for Compensation has been initiated and draft guidelines on Television White Spaces (TVWS) and the document is undergoing legal review among others.
Pantami asked the stakeholders to profound an insightful solution which will be proffered and he reiterated his support to stakeholders as they culminate into a speedy realization of the Nation’s broadband target for Nigeria.