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FG tricking Nigerians with unverifiable percentage broadband penetration

…As Minister claims 23%, NCC stood at 22%, stakeholders’ see less

Ahead of the final lap of the current National broadband Plan (NBP 2015-2018), there has been conflicting information on the real percentage of broadband penetration so far achieved.

Recent at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Danbatta, told participants and section of investors that Nigeria’s penetration is at 22 per cent, adding that there is no more chances of meeting the 30 per cent target as contained in the NBP.

Business Hilights recalls that in line with the declaration of the ITU to make broadband accessible to all citizens by 2020, the Federal Government in 2013 had set a target to achieve a 30 per cent broadband penetration by December 2018.

A number of leading stakeholders in the industry had been expressing worries on how government officials are brandishing figures and agreed that the country is still hovering around 21 per cent or less.

To experts, Nigeria failed to meet the target due to hostile investment climate inherent in the economy coupled with other factors frustrating telecoms and mainly Infrastructure Companies (Infracos) in rolling out fibre optic cables meant for driving broadband penetration.

However, speaking recently at the just concluded 2018 eNigeria conference organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, the Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu claimed that the country has achieved a broadband penetration of 23 percent from a penetration of 14 percent in 2014.

In his lead argument, the minister averred that the 23 per cent broadband penetration was possible because the government realised the role broadband plays in the development of the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector.

He said “This informed our decision to develop a national broadband plan with the aim of increasing the penetration to 30 per cent, up from 14 per cent in 2014. I am happy to inform you that we have been able to achieve a penetration of 30 per cent and we are not resting on our oars until we achieve our target.”

Observers say the best way to push up NBP is for the government to prevail on states authorities to desist from over taxing Infracos so that they can rollout fibre across the federation.

Currently, there had been no clear progress so far made by any of the regional Infracos due to hard line posture of state governors in easing access to Right of Way (RoW).