About 80 million Nigerians now have access to broadband services, as broadband penetration hit 41.61% as of January 2022.
However, statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) revealed that broadband penetration dropped to 40.90% in February 2022 as its subscriptions reduced from 79.4 million in January 2021 to 78.1 million.
Also speaking at a retreat organised by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy (FMoCDE) for senior management staff of the Ministry and all its agencies, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Danbatta confirmed broadband penetration as at December 2021 was 40.88 per cent, thus enabling 80 million Nigerians to have access to broadband services.
Danbatta asserted that the NCC has acted superlatively in implementing NDEPS and in the context of the vision of the Federal Government and the supervision of the Ministry.
Danbatta who made a methodical presentation that chronologically documented NCC accomplishments under each of the eight (8) pillars of NDEPS, cited 10 of the 16 regulations that have been instituted in giving expression to the Government’s vision on developmental regulation, which is the first pillar of NDEPS.
These regulations were focused on Enforcement Processes, Lawful Interception, Quality of Service, Competition Practices, Licensing Regulations, and Universal Access and Universal Service among others.
Danbatta promised to also complete the review of the remaining soonest and activate their implementation. Danbatta, who used a triangulation method in contextualising the achievement of NCC under the first pillar, itemised the guidelines, regulations and policy development initiatives to discharge the burden of proof of NCC’s effectiveness in the regulation of ICT and digital economy sector through approaches that enabled development.
In implementing Digital Literacy and Skills, the second pillar, Danbatta also stated in his explanatory presentation, that the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), set up by NCC in 2004, had trained 5,352 students through 49 institutions, provided educational training software to 398 secondary schools, and endowed 7 professorial chairs in various Nigerian universities across all the geopolitical zones.
To reinforce the intensity of NCC’s commitment to improving broadband penetration, the EVC declared to the forum that NCC has emplaced a process for the deployment of optic fibre cable using Infrastructure Companies (Infracos).
Danbatta was emphatic that the licensed Infracos have been directed by the Commission to commence immediate rollout without recourse to counterpart funding because the licence issued to them is independent of the counterpart funding agreement.
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The Infracos are expected to lay 38,296Km of fibre optic cable. Also, in keeping with Government’s directive through a Federal Executive Council decision of 2005, NCC has constructed 32 Emergency Communication Centres (EECs) in various states, and 32 of those have been activated and are operational. Prof. Danbatta also documented copiously in his presentation, Commission’s achievement in the other five pillar areas.
In addition, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) commended all the agencies in the communications and digital economy sector for being dedicated to the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030 and urged them to work collaboratively and co-ordinately to achieve the Federal Government’s strategic objectives as articulated in NDEPS.
The retreat was convened to evaluate the implementation of NDEPS in the context of what has been achieved, what needs to be achieved, and what processes should be emplaced to enhance the capacity of the Ministry and Agencies it superintends to mobilise all stakeholders to accomplish the objectives of NDEPS.