By Richard Abu
The Board of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has expanded has deepen broadband penetration in the country by approving two additional Infrastructure Company (Infraco) licences.
The new Infraco licencees are Zinox Technology Limited for South East zone and Brinks Integrated Solutions Limited to cover the North East region.
In a statement issued on Wednesday by NCCa��s Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Tony Ojobo, he said that with the approval, the number of Infracos licenced by NCC had risen to four.
Ojobo recalled that over a year ago, MainOne Cable Company Limited was licenced to provide services in Lagos while IHS got approval to cover the North Central geopolitical zone including Abuja.
He said that the Infraco licences are based on the NCCa��s Open Access Model (OAM) in line with the National Broadband Plan (NBP) of 2013-2018.
According to him, by the provisions of the NBP, Nigeria is expected to attain 30 per cent broadband penetration this year.
Ojobo explained that as part of the initiative to achieve the goal, the NCC, as the driver of the process, has licenced a number of companies to stimulate broadband penetration.
The firms are Bitflux Communications Limited (Bitflux) for 2.3 Ghz and MTN Nigeria for the 2.6 Ghz licences. Other licences are in the pipeline in this process. As at December, 2017, Nigeria had attained 22% broadband penetration.
With the licensing of four Infracos: MainOne Cable, IHS, Zinox Technology and Brinks Solutions, there are three more licencees waiting for approval to bring total number to seven.
These are for South-South, North West and South West zones, Ojobo said.
Meanwhile, the NCC has said the number of active mobile phone lines in the country rose to 144 million in December 2017.
The figure showed an increase of 2,731,273 lines, from 142 million recorded in November 2017.
NCC disclosed this in its monthly Subscribers Operator Data posted on its website.
The commission said that the active lines moved to 144,631,678 in December compared to 141,900.405 in November 2017.
The Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) still had 217,566 users in December same as November.
The report said that the number of fixed wired/wireless in December was 139,344 as against 137,190 in November, showing an increase of 2,154 lines.
According to NCC, the number of Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) was 70,926 in December while in November it was 61,488, an increase of 5,977.
Teledensity for December 2017 was 103.61 against 101.66 in November, recording an increase of 195.
Teledensity is the number of telephone connections for every 100 individuals living within an area. It varies widely across the nation.
NCC said the number of connected mobile lines in December decreased to 236,927,497 in December compared to 237,010.282 in November 2017, an increase of 82, 785.
By Richard Abu