The Guardian
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37 Nigerian ISPs share 390,794 subscribers 


A telecoms mast

A telecoms mast

• Spectranet, Cobranet lead with 615 PoPs
• Ndukwe tasks policy makers on Internet expansion

Statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have shown that 37 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the country provide services for 390, 794 subscribers. This excludes the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) including MTN, Globacom, Airtel and Etisalat, which also provide Internet services.

The MNOs are able to provide Internet services because of their Universal Access Service Licence (UASL). Through the MNOs, Nigeria has been able to connect about 93 million of its population to the Internet through the narrowband and lately broadband.

Meanwhile, out of the 390, 794 ISPs’ customers, only about 286,046 subscribers are currently active and serviced through fibre connectivity (broadband).

ISP is an organisation that provides services for accessing and using the Internet. ISPs may be organised in various forms, such as commercial, community-owned, non-profit, or otherwise privately owned.

The service providers, by the provision of the Nigerian Communications Act, (NCA 2003) are licensed for a period of five years before they are renewed in Nigeria.

The ISPs include Internet Solutions, Vodacom, Spectranet, ipNX, VDT, Smile Communications, Cobranet, Layer 3, NetAccess Communications Nigeria, e-Stream, Zinox, Coscharis Tech, Atlantic Geodynamics, MainOne Cables, and a host of others.

According to The Guardian checks, the biggest of the ISPs, based on the NCC statistics is Spectranet with 193, 892 subscribers, while least is Content Oasis with just one subscriber.

Smile Communications, according to NCC has 156,243 customers, all of them been active subscribers.

Furthermore, these 37 ISPs have 927 Point of Presence (PoP) located across the country, with Spectranet and Cobranet leading with 555 and 60 PoPs respectively.

A PoP is an artificial demarcation point or interface point between communicating entities. A PoP typically houses servers, routers, network switches, multiplexers, and other network interface equipment. It is typically located in a data center. ISPs typically have multiple PoPs. PoPs are often located at Internet exchange points and co-location centres.

Report has it that the NCC has issued operating licenses to about 200 ISPs to provide Internet services in the country since the beginning of the telecommunications revolution in Nigeria, but while many of them had shut down because of various economic and policy challenges, others have continued to struggle.

The licensees, operating in different parts of the country, had helped in taking Internet services to individuals, businesses and governments.

Meanwhile, former Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, said about 60 per cent of world’s population still not online, stressing that in Africa, only 20 per cent are online compared to Europe’s 80 per cent.

While calling on policy makers to initiate policies that will make Internet more accessible, Ndukwe said just over 50 per cent of the Nigerian populace are within the range of mobile signal, “a good percentage is in 2G.”

Ndukwe, who is the National Coordinator, Alliance for Affordable Internet (AA4I), said so many people are still offline because of high cost of connection and high device cost.

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