The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said the growth in the telecommunications industry can be sustained through the provision of pervasive broadband access that will further boost the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Currently there are about 162 million active mobile connections and over 100 million internet users, with teledensity standing at over 116 per cent, as at May this year, a development that NCC has described as impressive.
Speaking on this development, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said the next frontier to deepen digitisation globally is through the development of broadband, otherwise known as high-speed internet access. According to him, the NCC will continue to promote the development of broadband in Nigeria in order to sustain the growth and gains of telecommunications in today’s digital era. Danbatta said: “Nigeria has an auspicious target to achieve 30 per cent broadband penetration by the end of the year in line with the National Broadband Plan (2013- 2018), and I am happy to inform the public that despite teething challenges, we have so far hit 22 per cent threshold of the 30 per cent broadband target.” “With telecoms’ contribution to Nigeria’s GDP currently standing at over nine per cent, it is expected that ubiquitous broadband access will further deepen the contribution to GDP.
More access to telecoms/ broadband access means more contribution to GDP, but less access means lower contribution to GDP. With better and wider access coverage, the contributions of telecoms to GDP will move from 9 per cent to a little over 10 per cent,” Danbatta said. He explained that the realisation on the centrality of broadband to enhancing digital life, which comes with a lot of benefi ts for individuals and corporate organisations, has informed the decision by the current leadership of the NCC to put broadband penetration topmost on the ladder of its 8-Point agenda. Danbatta said the ongoing licencing of wholesale Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) in geopolitical zones to complement existing infrastructure on an Open Access Model (OAM) basis, the development of framework on spectrum trading, formulation of policy on national roaming and active engagement of stakeholders and state governments to remove impediments to telecoms infrastructure deployment by operating companies in their states, are among regulatory interventions, aimed at accelerating the digital ecosystem