The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, has said the country’s broadband penetration increased to 33% as at February, 2019.
Speaking while receiving a high-powered delegation from Bharti Airtel Group, led by Mandara Raghunath, Chief Executive Officer Airtel Africa, who paid him a courtesy visit, yesterday, in his office, Danbatta, however, expressed optimism that Nigeria can achieve 70% broadband penetration milestone in the next 5 years, even though a new national target of the penetration has not been made public yet.
“We exceeded expectation of Nigeria as the broadband penetration was 31% as at December last year. The good news is that we are steadily seeing increase in the penetration. As at February it was almost 33%.
“There is a new target, though no official pronouncement has been made, but we are hearing stakeholders saying it is possible to hit 70% in the next 5 years. When you divide 70% by 5 that will give you an idea of what we are expected to hit on annual basis.
“So far, no official pronouncement has been made by the supervising minister who is the custodian of the National Broadband Plan including the one that has just lapsed,” he said.
Speaking further, Prof Danbatta said the Federal Government would soon come up with another penetration target to be attained in the next five years of the mission of National Broadband Plan phase two. Phase one lapsed in 2018.
In the same vein, Danbatta noted that all the key four parameters of the industry are currently on the way up.
He said while data usage is also steadily increasing, 174 million Nigerians have access to telecommunication voice services, adding that the internet penetration in real terms is over 100 million.
He, however, said henceforth “whatever penetration level we give in percentage terms would be with reference to the existing Nigerian population of over 190 million plus, this is courtesy of the figure given by National Population Commission.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Nigeria, Mr Olusegun Ogunsanya, commended Prof Danbatta for his vision and providing regulatory level playing field for competition to thrive in the industry.
Those present during the visit included Mr Paul Jaideep, Group Chief Financial Officer, Mr Kohl Harjeet and Oscar Onyema, CEO, Nigeria Stock Exchange.