By Martin Ekpeke
It does appear all doubts about meeting the 30 percent broadband penetration target by December 2018 are gradually being erased, as the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) announced it has hit a 22 percent threshold of the target.
Nigeria had set an auspicious target to achieve 30 percent broadband penetration by the end of 2018 in line with the National Broadband Plan 2013-2018.
“Despite teething challenges, I am happy to inform you that we have hit 22 percent threshold of the 30 percent broadband target,” the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta disclosed in a goodwill message at the just concluded Information Communications Technology and Telecommunications (ICTEL) Expo, 2018, which was organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the Eko Hotel & Suites.
The 22 percent threshold was met as a result of several interventions by the telecom regulator. Some of these interventions include licensing of wholesale infrastructure companies (InFraCos) to complement existing ones on an open access model basis, the development of framework for spectrum trading and the policy on national roaming and active engagement of stakeholders to remove impediments to infrastructure deployment.
Also, the effort to meet the broadband target is based on the knowledge that pervasive broadband access is central to boosting the gains of the digital age, as broadband access helps to accelerate economic development and boost country’s Gross Domestic Product.
Industry watchers and analyst have argued that ubiquitous broadband access will deepen Nigeria’s telecom contribution to the country’s GDP, which is presently 9 percent. In other words, more access to broadband will automatically translate to more GDP, while less access translates to less GDP.