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Senate worried on wobbling speed of broadband penetration, to partner agencies

As it is becoming clear that the 2018 broadband penetration percentage of 30, adopted in the prevailing National broadband Plan (NBP) since 2013 to 2018, the Senate Committee on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Cybercrime has expressed worry, saying the scenario has become unacceptable.

Expressing their apprehension during a tour of MainOne’s Data Centre, MDXi in Lagos, recently, the lawmakers said it is unfortunate that upon having the needed and even excess Terabyte capacity languishing at the seashores in Lagos, not enough have been done to move them up inlands.

It would be recalled that several subsea cables from Europe have since landed at the Lagos shores but the logistics in wiring them across the federation have remained the daunting puzzle to figure out.

Investigations by Business Hilights Economic Research Team (BHERT), however revealed that issues bordering on Right of Way (RoW), multiple taxation from the federal down to even host communities have continued to hobble the infrastructure distribution.

Besides, efforts of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) to resolve the puzzle lead to the adoption of Open Access Model (OAM) Broadband System whereby every Infrastructure Company (Infraco) that wins bid to wire any of the six regions as segmented will allow any network at a fee on its system.

However, since the introduction during the administration of former NCC boss, Dr. Eugene Juwah and the licencing of Lagos and North Central Zones, not much has been done either in opening bids for the remaining four zones or even the licencees of both Lagos and North central to do much due to the listed logistics problems.

Statistics show that today, Nigeria’s broadband penetration wobbles at 21 per cent, despite having bandwidth in excess of 10 Terabyte capacity lying fallow at sea shores in the country. The operators have been hindered by lack of last mile infrastructure and the tough business climate in the country.

But upon all the challenges which are yet to be resolved the Minister of Communications, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu is still hopeful that Nigeria will hit the target 30 per cent by next year.

Whereas industry analysts say hope has never been a strategy for progress anywhere in the world, the visiting lawmakers whom the matter was clearly explained to during the tour vowed to partner with relevant government agencies, states, local governments and even communities to change the broadband infrastructure narrative within the shortest time possible.

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