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Poor infrastructure threatens 30% broadband target


New-broadbandWith two years to the realisation of the Federal Government’s planned 30 per cent broadband penetration in the country, there is pessimism that lack of needed infrastructure may affect the set target.

This was the view of the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, in Lagos, recently.

Danbatta, at the Stakeholders Consultative Forum on Licensing of 38GHz, 42GHz and re-planning of 23GHz band, noted that emerging trend in the telecommunications market in Nigeria today is broadband, which will certainly require massive deployments in terms of critical infrastructure, “if we are to achieve the set target of government of 30 per cent broadband penetration by the year 2018.”

The EVC, who was represented by the the Director of Public Affairs, Tony Ojobo, noted that spectrum resources was part of the needed infrastructure, he therefore pointed out that the growth in broadband traffic was on the increase and that additional spectrum resources would be required to avoid network challenges.

The Guardian had earlier in the year reported that some states may serve as major obstacle to achieving this broadband target through their indiscriminate tax systems and that the current state of electricity generation and supply in the country, also posed serious negative impact on the target.

Investigations by The Guardian showed Nigeria was only able to achieve two per cent broadband penetration in 2015, after ending 2014 with eight per cent growth, meaning that the current penetration is around 10 per cent.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has been urged to shift its revenue earning focus from oil and gas, but to the impact broadband availability can have on Nigeria’s ailing economy.

This charge was given at the weekend, in Lagos, by the Coordinator of the yearly Nigeria ICT Impact CEO Forum and Africa Digital Awards, Tayo Adewusi.

Adewusi in a statement stressed that if Nigeria’s economy must leap frog and “catch up with the rest of the world, broadband deployment can take us there”.

He lamented that ICT is considered as the fastest growing sector in Nigeria, yet data services have not recorded the same growth as voice, while key trends have indicated that demand for these services “is at the roof top”.

Adewusi disclosed that the deployment of broadband could aid the ailing Nigerian economy and place it on the road to recovery, stressing that this would be the focus of experts at this year’s Nigeria ICT Impact CEO Forum and the Africa Digital Awards, later in the year, with the theme: ‘How Can Broadband Deployment Impact On Nigeria’s Economic Recovery,”

Furthermore, he said industry experts have posited that ICT is the next ‘oil and gas’ as such, this can only be achieved through “an increase in broadband penetration.

“How do we transport the huge capacity inland? There is an obvious absence of efficient distribution and dearth of last mile connection. However, there has been an appreciable growth in e-commerce and this can be properly harnessed through a significant broadband penetration.”

Adewusi affirmed that broadband is a goldmine and the recovery of Nigeria’s economy is dependent on this goldmine and this would happen through the provision of the “enabling environment”, adding that broadband deployment should be predicated on “availability, affordability, and quality of service delivery”.

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