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30% Should Be Minimum Broadband Target for 2018- ATCON President

By peter oluka Broadband access has become crucial to any national development agenda, and the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NBP) 2013 had set a target of 30% penetration by 2018. As year 2018 draws nearer, the Federal Ministry of Communications is expected to rally relevant agencies such as the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NigComSat), to pursue this prime responsibility of achieving the target.

But, industry expert, Mr. Olusola Teniola opines that achieving the target should be regarded as the least of what the country could attain, hence every effort should be geared towards ameliorating the harsh economic impediments capable of scuttling further expansions. Teniola, the president of the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) in a chat with Nigeria CommunicationsWeek recently, expressed thus, “I believe that the minimum target should be 30%, not that we meet 30% and that is the end.

This is a journey and right now we have 21% broadband penetration as suggested by NCC, quoting ITU statistics. “Really, when we look at the situation we found ourselves in terms of broadband in 2012 when the National Broadband Plan (NBP) was written, it was evident that a combination of 3G and 4G networks at a level of 80% network coverage for 3G and 50% for 4G will suffice to achieve the minimum 30% at speeds of 1.5Mbps download for the right consumer experience that will create an increase in productivity and this may positively impact our GDP by another 1.x %. “If we want to attain the benchmark set we need to accelerate the removal of barriers that exists in Rights of Way (RoW) permits, reduce the costs associated with fiber deployment across the country and create a compelling reason that brings much needed funds from the private sector to Nigeria to build the infrastructure that will enable this to happen.

“These were some of the underlying assumptions that were prerequisite during the drawing up of the NBP in 2012 and supported holistically by the industry at that time as the only way forward to realistically achieve and surpass the 30% target”.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reassured industry stakeholders that Nigeria will meet and even surpass the 30% target, given its commitment to the facilitation of broadband penetration, enshrined in its 8-Point Agenda, unveiled three years ago.

Similarly, the Nigerian Communication Satellite Limited said that surpassing the 30% broadband penetration target by December 2018 is possible if public and private sector operators in the country key into its ongoing Ka-VSAT deployment.

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