Broadband target of 70%: Nigeria needs the support and full engagement of all private actors
IT News Nigeria:
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Ali Ibrahim Pantami has said public and private stakeholders are central towards achieving the national broadband target of 70 per cent.
The Minister said Monday at Abuja that there is need to “bring all the stakeholders on the same page for effective implementation of the NNBP 2020-2025,” adding that the achievement of the targets in the plan needs the support and full engagement of all stakeholders.
Broadband penetration is defined as the number of subscriptions to fixed and mobile broadband services, i.e. with advertised data speeds of 256 kbps or more divided by the number of residents in each country. And the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has called for national broadband policy in Nigeria, saying that it is the next big thing in the global economic revolution.
The nation has a new Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP), 2020-2025.
“So far, the journey for broadband penetration in Nigeria has been quite commendable and with the steady growth we are making, we are hopeful that our digital economy drive will be actualized. It is, however, important to bear in mind that broadband penetration, access to smartphones, development of digital identity ecosystem and biometric verification of bank accounts, are four key elements that can drive the digital economy,” he said.
Also addressing the forum, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the Commission is embarking on necessary regulatory measures to actualize the targets in the national broadband policy.
“As a Commission, we are seeking collaborative action for the implementation of the plan and the NDEPS. The Commission will continue to facilitate necessary regulatory measures for the deployment of fibre infrastructure to all parts of the country, which is crucial for pervasive broadband penetration that we are all working to achieve,” Danbatta said.
He stated that while steady progress has been made with 54,724, kilometer of fibre so far deployed across the country, spirited efforts are being made by the Commission not only to increase this milestone in fibre infrastructure but also ensure their maximum protection by working with the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) to stem the spate of infrastructure vandalism.
Industry stakeholders led by the President of Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Engr. Olusola Teniola, advocated the need for buy-in by the operators and key stakeholders in the broadband vision and implementation drive of the government.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman, Broadband Implementation Steering Committee (BISC) and Executive Commissioner, Technical Services at NCC, Ubale Maska, stated that the main purpose of the consultation is to present the key provisions of the new national broadband plan in terms of its set targets, pillars, recommended initiatives, implementation timelines, responsibility matrix, governance structure and the various roles expected to be played by all stakeholders in the implementation of the plan, especially the key industry players.
The programme was attended by CEOs of agencies under the Ministry and representatives of telecoms companies.