As part of efforts of the federal government to provide affordable broadband infrastructure and services in Nigeria, the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, has expressed the desire of the commission to ensure that the country attains 30 per cent broadband penetration before the end of 2018. Danbatta, who disclosed in Lagos during the 10th anniversary lecture and awards of Business Journal with the theme: “Infrastructure and Economic Growth: Exploring the Strategic Alliance,” stated that as at March, the country’s broadband penetration was estimated at 22 per cent, adding that most of the access was through wireless broadband. He also noted that as part of the initiative to achieve the National Broadband Plan (NBP) target for broadband penetration, the commission had licenced and auctioned frequency spectrum to some new and existing licensees. Some of the firms include Bitflux Communication Limited (Bitflux), MTN Communications Limited, Inter-cellular Nigeria Limited among others. Danbatta explained that the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have deployed about 52,000 kilometres of fiber optic cables as at April 2018.
Danbatta who was represented at the event by the Assistant Director, Technical Standards, NCC, Edoyemi Ogo, stated that there are about 33,000 2G, 29,000 3G and 4000 LTE sites deployed as at April 2018. He added that five international submarine cable and landing station services operators have landed cables in the country. Th e NCC boss noted that to ensure the continuous rollout of requisite infrastructure, 12 metropolitan fibre cable network companies and 12 national long distance operators had also been licenced.
Danbatta further said there was need to expedite the rollout of the fibre optic infrastructure across the country, adding that the commission had examined the open access model as the model for optic fiber transmission network deployment to bridge the current gap and deliver fast and reliable broadband services to households and businesses. According to him, “To drive the process for the delivery of fast and reliable broadband services across the country, the commission established a Broadband Implementation and Monitoring Committee (BIMC). “Th is committee is charged to drive the broadband infrastructure licencing and deployment using the open access model. “Furthermore, the commission, through the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), is implementing the following access and connectivity programmes for the under-served and un-served areas across the country which include: BTRAIN-Backbone Transmission Infrastructure of over 3,250km of fi ber across six geo-political zones-Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) :155 BTS sites. “On completion, the BTS will provide voice and data services populations in 930 communities. Other initiatives include tertiary institutions knowledge centres at 73 school locations; information resource centres at 73 library locations, e-accessibility project at 14 locations across the geopolitical zones, e-health project, at 13 General Hospitals across the six geo-political zones, school knowledge centres at 1,324 schools in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT),” Danbatta said.