The Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC, says it is working assiduously on a presidential order to bridge the digital divide in the country, via the licensing of seven companies to deploy more broadband technology to nooks and crannies of the country aimed at enhancing socio-economic development.
The development is set to increase broadband penetration from the current 50,000 kilometers to the required 120,000, Kilometers capacity fiber coverage and bring at par the minimum internet speed limit of 1.5 megabits per second across the country.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the (NCC) Prof., Umar Garba Dambatta disclosed this at a Broadband sensitisation and engagement Forum for stakeholders, held in Kano state north western Nigeria.
He said the move which was directed by President Muhammudu Buhari will reduce challenges caused by lack of telecoms infrastructure across the 774 Local Government Areas in the country and possibly make Nigeria to join the league of the 20 most powerful countries in the world by the year 2020.
“It will bring ubiquity in the 1.5 million megabits per second speed requirement for the country and equally crash the prices of internet services due to competition,” Prof. Dambatta stressed.
Dambatta said the infrastructure companies (Infracos) which are expected to cover 30 percent of the country within the first one year and subsequently the remaining, were licensed cheaply at the cost of N2.5 million for the seven zones in the country, namely, North-West, North-East, North-Central, South-South, South-East, South-West and Lagos zones to ensure effective and equitable broadband service deployment.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the apex telecoms regulator explained that NCC has also set up an Implementation Monitoring Committee.
“Not only to monitor the establishment of the broadband infrastructure project, but to also ensure adequate sensitization of all stakeholders, as well as proffer solutions to challenges such as payment of taxes and right-of-way,” he emphasised.
He noted that with the expanded broadband project, Nigerians will further experience transformation in sectors such as health, education, transportation, socio-economic development, as well as transparency and openness in governance.
Dambatta said Nigeria has achieved Telecommunications out reached of 160 million, with 20 percent broadband Penetration and hoping to up it to 30 percent before the end of the year 2018.
According to him, there was the need for the high speed services above the 1.5 megabits being experienced at landing points in Lagos to be felt in hinterlands across the country.
Mr. Tony Ikemefuna in a presentation at the forum acknowledged that 95 percent of Nigerians access internet using wireless means, which is powered by broadband. An indication that the technology has come to stay and equally a major determinant of future engagements.
The forum is billed to be held subsequently in other parts of the country.