COMMUNICATIONS minister Sheikh Isa Pantami has revealed the federal government has ambitious plans to achieve 90% Broadband penetration in Nigeria by 2023 as part of an aggressive programme to expand Internet usage.
According to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria now has about 150m Internet users, making the country number six worldwide. Speaking at the All Progressive Congress Professional Forum in Abuja, Sheikh Pantami said the government intends to expand on this by ensuring these users are connected to Broadband.
He added that the digital economy sector had recorded a 45% increase in Broadband penetration under the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari, up from the 30% rate recorded in the 19 years from 2000, with a 10% rise from September 2019 to November 2020. He added that on assumption of office, the current government inherited 50m Nigerians with no access to telecommunication facilities.
Sheikh Pantami said: “We developed the National Broadband Plan 2020-2030 which targets a 90% penetration rate in terms of population and a 70% rate in terms of our total land mass within the next two years. It also targets a speed of 25mbps for urban areas while a 10mbps speed is targeted for rural areas.
“So far, we have been able to achieve a 10% increase just within a year which brings the success rate to 45%. This is unprecedented and it is because of the president’s commitment to a digital Nigeria and support in approving our policies.”
According to the minister, Broadband is the backbone of a digital economy as it has been recognised by global experts that a 10% increase in penetration will increase the gross domestic product of an economy by 1.6% to 1.8%. Umar Danbatta, the executive vice chairman of the NCC, said that more users are expected online as services in different sectors of the economy are becoming digitalised.