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Broadband penetration hits 33 percent- NCC

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Broadband penetration hits 33 percent- NCCThe Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has disclosed that Nigeria’s current broadband penetration has hit 33 percent, a 3 percent increase  surpassing the 30 percent broadband target at the end of 2018.
The Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, professor Umar Danbatta disclosed this when the Management team of Airtel Africa and Nigeria paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja on Wednesday, and attributed the increase in broadband penetration to the ambitious expansion of network operators in the country.
Danbatta said “It is good to see Airtel providing services, especially 4G services. It is good to hear the level of expansion because we are seeing remarkable improvement in broadband penetration.
“The figures are increasingly are going up. We are at about 33% now.   This we can attribute to very ambitious expansion of network operators like Airtel in places like Lagos, Kano, Rivers, Ibadan, Abuja. This lends credence to figures we are seeing from broadband penetration.
“We are seeing increase in broadband subscription, especially to services provided by Airtel. It is good for Nigerians to hear this that Airtel is helping us to hit the broadband penetration target.
The EVC noted that Nigeria was supposed to achieve 30 percent broadband penetration as at December 2018, but exceeded theatre target courtesy of national Broadband Plan.
“We are steadily seeing increase in broadband penetration. As at February, there is a new target   of 70% in the next five years. So far, no official announcement has been made on that by the minister.
” I am sure government will come up with official announcement on the new national Broadband plan, Phase 2,” said Danbatta
Speaking on Data Usage the EVC  explained that there is also a steady increase in data usage, which he said can be seen from 4G  network services.
Danbatta further said it is important to talk about other statistics where broadband penetration is concerned.
“As at February 2019, we had 174million Nigerian had access to telecom voice services. And the number is steadily rising. Internet penetration too in real terms is 100milion.
“Henceforth, whatever percentage increase we will given out in percentage terms will be in reference to the existing Nigerian population. All growth parameters are steadily growing courtesy of  expansion programme on 4G operators in the country, especially Airtel,”
It could be recalled that Nigeria, under its National Broadband Plan 2013-2018, had set the target of 30% broadband penetration by the end of last year, and the NCC was mandated to drive the process.
However, while there was palpable concern that the country would not meet the target as the penetration level was mere 8.5 % in 2015 when Prof Danbatta took over the mantle of the commission’s leadership, 31.48% was achieved at the end of December, 2018.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officet, Airtel Africa, Raghunath Mandava earlier in his remarks said Nigeria is the fastest growing market and also the biggest market Airtel has in Africa, and It is a critical market for us as we expand broadband penetration.
He explained that they at Airtel are impressed about the way Nigerian telecom market is growing, makimg it the fastest growing telecom  market in Africa.
He further revealed that Airtel is committed to very heavy investment and is ready to help digitize the country.
He appreciated the great vision of the leadership of the NCC, and the government of Nigeria, and the Nigerian market for their support and said the main aim of the courtesy visit is to discuss about future broadband.
The President, National Alliance of Youth for Development, Abdaullahi Sani Ya’u, had earlier described the feat as worthy of celebrating by all and sundry.
“In a country notorious for missing vital national policy targets, what Prof Danbatta-led NCC achieved is worthy of recognition. We, as members of an organization that is deeply interested in development of the nation, are particularly thrilled by what the NCC is doing especially in the area of broadband and ICT development generally,” the statement noted.
Speaking further, Ya’u praised President Muhammadu Buhari for “putting a square peg in a square hole by appointing Prof Danbatta to superintend over the affairs of the nation’s telecom market, the biggest in Africa”.
“No doubt, Prof Danbatta is one of the best appointments made by President Muhammadu Buhari.  Achieving the broadband target and his other giant strides at the NCC stand him out,” Ya’u observed.
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