Nigeria’s Broadband Penetration Now 45.07%

As a result of the implementation of the Broadband New Plan, Nigeria’s broadband penetration has significantly increased to 45.07%, as of November 2020.

This was disclosed on Thursday, 18th February 2021 by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, at Nigeria Digital Foundations Training: Innovative Business Models for Closing the Internet Access Gaps organised by the World Bank.

Pantami said that much as these figures are impressive, the Federal Government will not rest on its oars and will keep implementing initiatives to increase the broadband coverage in line with the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy Plan.

The Minister expressed his happiness to partner with the World Bank on this training as it aligns well with the FG’s

It will be recalled that the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020-2025) was unveiled and launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on the 19th of March, 2020.

The new broadband plan is designed to deliver data download speeds across Nigeria of a minimum 25Mbps in urban areas and 10Mbps in rural areas, with effective coverage available to at least 90% of the population by 2025 at a price not more than N390 per 1GB of data (2% of median income or 1% of minimum wage).

In order to achieve these targets, the plan focused on recommendations in 4 critical pillars, namely: Infrastructure; Policy/Spectrum; Demand Drivers and Funding/Incentives.

According to Pantami, the Plan targets the deployment of nationwide fibre coverage to reach all State Capitals, and a point of presence in at least 90% of Local Government Headquarters. In a nutshell, the Plan is aimed at the significant reduction of access gaps through the expansion of broadband access across the country.

“As at the time we commenced the process of drafting a new broadband plan to replace the expired plan, our broadband penetration in the country was just over 33%. As a result of the implementation of the new plan, this broadband penetration has significantly increased to 45.07%, as of November 2020. Much as these figures are impressive, we will not rest on our oars and will keep implementing initiatives to increase the broadband coverage in line with our Plan, Pantami said.

Broadband has often been referred to as a key enabler of economic growth in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

According to a report by Ericsson titled “How Important Are Mobile Broadband Networks for Global Economic Development”, 10% increase in mobile broadband penetration results in approximately 0.6% to 2.8% rise in gross domestic product (GDP).

Broadband supports the development of the digital economy and a focus on growing the National Digital Economy will also improve the nation’s traditional economy.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the contribution of ICT to the Gross Domestic Product of Nigeria rose to 17.83% in the 2nd Quarter of 2020. This was unprecedented and it reflects how much of an impact technology, including broadband, can have on the economy if channelled properly. The contribution of the digital economy would even be much higher when we add the contribution of digital services to the GDP.

The growth that results from affordable and reliable broadband will enable us get a slice of the Global Digital Economy, which Oxford Economics valued at $11.5 trillion dollars as at 2016, or approximately 16% of the Global Economy. This value is expected to grow significantly over the coming years.

The World Economic Forum predicts that over 60% of global GDP will be digitized by 2022 and that over the next decade, digital platforms will be used to create close to 70% of new value. Most nations are prioritizing the need to develop their digital economies because they realize the multiplier effect that this can have on all other sectors of the economy.

On the Innovative Business Models for Closing the Internet Access Gap in Nigeria, Pantami said that his Ministry started discussions with the World Bank team regarding the delivery of this training in December 2020 and he approved the participation of members of the Broadband Implementation Steering Committee (BISC), members of the Project Management Office, staff of the Parastatals under the Ministry and stakeholders.

“I am delighted to note that close to 60 people will be participating in this training, many of whom have already received their certificates for completing the online self-paced training.

I am glad to hear that this live deep-dive session will focus on adapting the lessons from the “Innovative Business Models for Closing the Internet Access Gap” report to the Nigerian context. We found the Report very resourceful as it covered 70 case-studies – geographically dispersed, but mainly in developing markets. The 4 simultaneous breakout sessions will also enable the participants to address the key aspects to be considered when closing access gaps, Pantami concluded.