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How Nigeria attained 31% broadband penetration in 2018, by NCC

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NCC Building.<br />Photo/NgComCommission

Having surpassed the 30 per cent broadband penetration target of 2018, Nigeria is expected to bridge the 190 telecommunications access gap with new focus on ubiquitous Internet access.

The new move, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) would include the review and overhaul of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) 2013-2018, infrastructure upgrade and fresh investments.

The NCC stated this in a broadband documented, where it also explained how the country was able attained 31 per cent broadband penetration last year.

In the document made available to journalists yesterday, it observed that in November 2018, there were 168,729,005 mobile “GSM” mobile subscribers in the country, of which 108,457,051 were subscribed to Internet access services provided by the major operators.

‘‘In terms of broadband services, a total of 58,965,478 connected to the Internet through 3G and 4G networks (including those provided by the LTE-only service providers such as Smile and nTel),” it added.

NCC disclosed that this distinction was critical because Nigerians predominantly rely on mobile networks for Internet access, including broadband networks since the fixed broadband access, which would have been led by NITEL, is now non-existent.

It explained that broadband penetration is typically measured by the percentage of total population with access to broadband networks out of every hundred.

‘‘So, if we take the total active broadband subscription figure of 58,965,478 and divide it by a population of 190,886,311 (using United Nations (UN’s) projection of December 2017), that comes to 30.9 per cent penetration.’’

The telecoms regulator said although issues could be raised about using the UN figure as baseline, it stressed that it used the figure for consistency since that appears to be the baseline used by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in earlier studies.

NCC explained that if it had used the Nigerian Population Commission (NPC)’s 2006 figure of 140 million, the penetration rate would have been 42.1 per cent, which would have been unrealistic and disputed.

The commission also stressed that the ITU Broadband Commission’s September 2018 Report, Nigeria’s broadband penetration was 19.9 per cent, adding: ‘‘This cannot be the case, since that report is based on industry statistics of December 2017, which was clearly outdated as at September 2018 when the report was published.’’

It added that its assertion that Nigeria attained 30.9 per cent broadband penetration was logical and supported by available data in its custody.


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