FG inaugurates c’ttee to expand broadband penetration

By Angela Nkwocha

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami has inaugurated the Implementation Steering Committee of the Nigerian Broadband Plan 2020-2025 to ensure wider broadband penetration in the country.

The Minister who inaugurated the committee in Abuja noted that the it is expected to monitor the implementation of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020-2025) which was unveiled and launched by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, on the 19th of March, 2019.

According to him, 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).

He added that in order to achieve these ambitious targets, the plan focused on recommendations in four critical pillars, namely Infrastructure, Policy/Spectrum, Demand Drivers and Funding/Incentives.

Similarly, Dr. Pantami added that 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 as well as tertiary educational institutions, major hospitals in each state and 60% of base stations by 2025 at statutory rates of N145/meter for Right of Way (RoW).

While noting that the implementation of the new NBP had started fully and is resulting in the increase in broadband penetration currently at 40.18 percent, up from 35.10 per cent in August, 2019, the Minister said the ICT industry contributed 14.07 per cent to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first quarter of 2020. He noted that increased broadband penetration will help Nigeria to achieve increased GDP growth.

Meanwhile, Dr Pantami noted that engagement with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum has inspired several state governments to adopt the N145/meter and a few of these States have even waived the fee altogether adding that the federal government of Nigerian is keen to develop a digital economy that will have a great impact on every sector of Nigeria’s economy.

In his remarks, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta commended the Minister for the inauguration of the committee and promised the support of the Commission towards realisation of the mandate of the Committee.

The Committee which draws membership from the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and agencies under its supervision, Including the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), World Bank, Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), among others, has NCC saddled with the responsibility of leading the team to ensure effective monitoring and steering of the overall implementation of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) 2020-2025.

The committee Chairman Engr. Ubale Maska, gave the assurance of the Committee members’ readiness to deliver on the mandate.

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