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NCC moves to connect 25m unreached to telephone services

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), at the weekend, said it was working towards connecting the remaining 25 million unreached Nigerians to telephone services.

Its Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, dropped the hint when the commission hosted media chiefs physically and virtually.
   
The Guardian checks showed that as at July, there were 286 million connected telephone lines in the country, with 199.3 million active.Rendering his five-year stewardship, Danbatta observed that when he came on board in 2015, 217 access gap clusters were identified as affecting 40 million Nigerians without access to telecommunications services.
  
“But today, we have reduced the access gap clusters to 114 with 15 million of the 40 million digitally excluded Nigerians now having access to telecoms services. We are committed to addressing the remaining access gap clusters, which are areas outside the frontier of economic viability to ensure the remaining 25 million Nigerians have access,” he said.
  
The EVC, who has been reappointed for another five years in office at the expiration f his first term last month, outlined his major policies that had improved broadband penetration and engendered sectoral growth, especially contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

He also unveiled the commission’s priority areas for the next half a decade to include facilitating attainment of 70 per cent broadband penetration by 2025; consumer protection and empowerment, as well as consolidation of spectrum trading to ensure maximum and efficient usage of available frequencies.
  
Others to equally received attention, according to him, are continued SIM registration audit to provide security and curtail incidences of banditry, kidnapping and armed robbery; creation of emergency communications centres (ECCs) in more states and execution of counterpart funding agreements with licensed infrastructure companies (InfraCos) to facilitate digital transformation of the economy.
  
On his achievements so far, Danbatta said the “diligent implementation of NCC’s Strategic Vision Plan (SVP), which focused on an eight-point agenda, has helped to lift broadband penetration from six per cent in 2015 to 42.02 per cent by July 2020.”

He added: “The sector’s contribution to GDP increased from 8.50 per cent in 2015 to 14.30 per cent in the second quarter of 2020. In financial terms, the contribution translates to N2.272 trillion.”


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