Recession: 30% broadband penetration target under pressure
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From BAYO AZEEZ, Lagos
As struggles to hit the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NBP) target of 30 per cent penetration by 2018 continues, the current economic headwind has been identified as inimical to the realization of the target.
According to the former Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, efforts to ensure successful implementation of the plan is being confronted by recession which is biting hard on individuals’ earnings in the country.
Ndukwe, who stated this during an interview in Lagos, described the recession as an unfortunate phenomenon hindering the ease of connecting people to high-speed internet as individual earnings continue to fall.
“All of us have been working very hard to ensure successful implementation, but unfortunately, we’ve gone through a recession in the country which affected the earnings of people.
“There is a very strong relationship between the earning power of the individual and the person’s ability to afford a connection.
“When many people have challenges with affordability, it means that the speed of getting people connected to broadband services is much slower,” Ndukwe explained.
From the A4AI report for Nigeria that was published recently, Ndukwe cited that Nigeria has only achieved 12 per cent broadband penetration.
“Sometimes, the figure looks horrible, but I know that in many cities in the country, the penetration could actually be as high as 30 to 50 per cent.”
Despite these penetration levels across some cities, he however, fingered a disparity when access to the high-speed internet in the country is examined as a whole, adding that, this can only improve when more people are employed and when the cost of connection is reduced.
“The target we have is that broadband penetration should be at least 30 per cent by 2018. We still have a year to go to determine whether we will crack that figure.
“I suspect that we may be able to do so if the plans of government in turning things around happen, and if there is concerted effort to do the various things that we said we will do,” he stated.
Ndukwe, who chaired the committee that crafted the NBP in 2013, also charged the broadband council to be more agile ‘so that if there are bottlenecks, they are removed in order that we may achieve the target’.
According to the Nigeria’s National Broadband plan which was drafted in 2013, by 2018, there will be 30 per cent broadband penetration in Nigeria.
The broadband vision for Nigeria is one of a society of connected communities with high speed internet and broadband access that facilitate faster socioeconomic advancement of the nation and its people.
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