Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has said that boundless broadband spread across the country will boost socio-economic development and growth in the country.
The NCC boss has also assured Nigerians of government’s efforts to surpass the 30 per cent broadband penetration target by 2018.
Boundless Broadband Will Enhance Socio-Economic Growth – Dambatta
Danbatta made the pledge sequel to doubts expressed by industry players that Nigeria may not achieve the broadband target by 2018. He cited poor implementation of the broadband plan, since its inception in 2013.
The federal government, through the Ministry of Communications, had in 2013, released a five-year national broadband plan for Nigeria.
The target was to achieve 30 per cent broadband penetration by 2018, with the intents and purposes to digitally empower Nigerians to have full benefits of e-Commerce business by having access to the Internet at the speed of light, and at relatively low cost.
While most Nigerians are indifferent about broadband accessibility, cost and speed, Dambatta insisted that government has done so much to boost broadband penetration in Nigeria, adding that further efforts from government would lead to ubiquitous broadband access across the country, which he said, the country needed to enhance her socio-economic development and broadband road-map.
Broadband is a catalyst for social and economic transformation in this era of Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Nigerian’s target for broadband penetration by 2018 is 30 per cent, and the Commission recognizes its prime responsibility in the actualization of the national broadband plan target, Dambatta added.
He stressed that while the broadband penetration is estimated at 21 per cent, the Commission is convinced of surpassing the 30 per cent broadband penetration by 2018, through various measures put in place such as: development of regulatory framework for broadband penetration; setting up of broadband implementation monitoring committee; issuance of wireless broadband license; and enabling more wireless broadband frequency and services on offer.
He also said a broadband implementation monitoring committee has been established within the Commission to ensure proper assessment and regular appraisals of broadband infrastructure deployment by the Infra-Cos.
He said the process of licensing infrastructure service providers has commenced in the remaining five Geo-political zones under the open access model, and that the recent bidding process for 2.6GHz spectrum, which saw MTN Nigeria Ltd emerge the winner of six slots of 10 MHz each, is a clear determination of NCC to issue wireless broadband licenses to eligible operators.
He explained that the Commission has initiated processes for licensing of more broadband services on the 5.4 GHz spectrum band, and has opened the process for the allocation of frequencies in the 70/80 GHz band (E-Band).