In a bid to improve broadband penetration in Nigeria and vigorously pursue the Digital Economy agenda, the Nigerian government is targeting an additional 120,000 kilometers of fibre cables in the next four years.
This will an improvement from the 54,725 kilometers of fibre cables presently laid across the country through the efforts of some private companies in the sector.
The government spoke through the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, while reeling out NCC’s regulatory priority areas for the next five years during an interactive session with senior media chiefs from the mainstream and online media community on Friday.
Addressing the forum, Danbatta, who was recently reappointed for another five years in office following the expiration of his first term last month, also added that the NCC is working on last-mile connectivity to different parts of the country through leveraging the 40 terabyte capacity of five submarine cables on the coastal shores of Nigeria.
“On assumption of office, there were 47,000 kilometers of fibre optic cables laid across the country. However, five years after, as a result of regulatory focus, there are now 54,725 kilometers of fibre cables laid across the country through the efforts of some private companies in the sector. In line with the Federal Government’s target, an additional 120,000 kilometers of fibre are being planned over the next four years,” he promised.
He believes that the licensing of six Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) to deploy fibre infrastructure across the six-geo political zones will also help to galvanise increased connectivity with the hope that the cost of data will be reduced from N1000, per gigabyte of data to around N390.
According to Danbatta, increase in fibre deployment will help the broadband penetration target of 70 percent to cover 90 percent of the population within the next five years as contained in the new Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020-2025).
“We cannot have pervasive broadband with only 37,000 4G-enabled Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) of the total 50,000 BTS currently in the country. We need more next-generation technologies as we work through addressing infrastructure deficit occasioned by the spike in data usage in the country,” he admitted.
In this regard, the EVC said the 5G trial conducted by the NCC in 2019 and its eventual safe deployment in the country will increase data speed and boost efficiency in-service experience for the consumers.