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Broadband Infrastructure: Nigeria Must Invest N4tn In 5yrs

Nigeria must invest more than N4.1 trillion ($10 billion) on infrastructure in the next five years to ensure robust broadband service


· Telecoms operators cannot sustain investment

· Driving internet is Government’s responsibility

· Broadband can overtake oil and gas as chief source of revenue

By In-house Analyst & Writer

Nigeria must invest more than N4.1 trillion ($10 billion) in the next few years if individuals and business owners of about 90 million internet enthusiasts would enjoy high speed internet or broadband.

This is the position of concerned stakeholders. They argue that this is what the nation needs in the next five years in order to facilitate the build out of requisite internet broadband infrastructure.

IT NEWS NIGERIA gathered according to Partner, management consulting at KPMG, Joseph Tegbe, “Nigeria is required to invest some $10 billion over the next five years in order to facilitate the build out of requisite internet broadband infrastructure needed to sustain government’s plan to diversify the economy away from oil.

Tegbe stated that that the rollout of fibre networks on an open-access, price regulated and non-discriminatory basis would assist the nation meet the broadband targets clearly outlined in the National Broadband Policy (NBP).

Reports have it that telecoms operators are unable to attract reasonably priced, long-term funding required to deploy and operate broadband fibre networks.

Minister of Communications, Barr Adebayo Shittu has challenged ICT stakeholders to come up with viable solution for the nation’s tech sector. He was speaking at ‘The 2016 Nigeria ICT Impact CEO Forum and Awards’ Africa Digital Awards (ADA)’, organised by ICT Watch Network in Lagos

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He noted that he has the privilege to take it the presidency for inclusion in next year’s budget.

Our Correspondent learned that telecoms operators’ ability to sustain investment in network expansion initiatives is largely dependent on the removal of prevailing operational bottlenecks such as vandalism of telecoms equipments, multiple taxation, inordinate Right of Way (RoW) charges as well as the prohibitive cost of doing business.

Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta said at the occasion broadband penetration in Nigeria now stands at was at 13 per cent up from the 10 per cent penetration recorded in 2015.

Danbatta was represented by Director, Public Affairs at NCC, Mr Tony Ojobo said the National Broadband Committee had projected a target of 30 per cent broadband penetration by the year 2018, adding that the country needs to put in more efforts towards achieving the broadband target by 2018.

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) launched the Open Access Next Generation Broadband Network (NGBN) in 2013, which paved the way for the licensing of regionally based Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos). The InfraCos are to further accelerate the rollout of a nationwide metropolitan and backbone fibre network.

The commission appointed MainOne and IHS Towers as the respective winning bidders for InfraCo licences in Lagos region and North Central Zone respectively.

MainOne CEO, Funke Opeke said at ICT event that his company would rollout service in the next 90 days when processes with regulatory agency is complete. She noted her company won the bid in partnership with over 30 companies that would be involved in various aspects of the project.

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The lofty objective of establishing InfraCos is to have a single body to reach agreements with state governments on RoW charges and taxes.

Opeke noted that there is need for further collaboration in the industry in order to provide broadband connectivity services to more of the Nigerian populace.

CEO Teledom Group, Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem said Nigeria must hold Broadband Summit, provides a platform for the telecom industry to articulate its perspectives on the landscape, and devise strategies that will hasten broadband penetration in Nigeria.

He noted that broadband index will enable stakeholders access internet uptake across states, help establish states with backward index.

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