The National Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has unveiled a strategic plan for achieving the 70-80 per cent broadband penetration target that was launched in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city last week at the Post-Nigeria National Broadband Plan organised by the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) and attended by key players in the industry.
The Director-General of NITDA, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami in his keynote address revealed that the continued implementation of NITDA’s statutory mandate, Nigerian National Broadband Council’s activities, ATCON’s mandate, and other key stakeholders’ contributions would result to achieving the set target.
Pantami while expressing optimism that the 70%-80% broadband penetration target can be achieved within the next five years said, “This is not a tall order as many advanced countries have attained and surpassed this penetration threshold; for example, the United State is at 84%, United Kingdom is at 81%, and South Korea is at 100% broadband penetration.”
Recalling the success recorded in the achievement of the previous target he said, “the NNBC did not only meet the 30% broadband penetration target by 2018 but exceeded it by 1%. The current broadband penetration in the country stands at about 31% which was initially at 11% prior to the establishment of NNBC.
This is a laudable achievement, given the fact that the increased penetration took place within a period of two years i.e 2017-2018. While we bask in this achievement, it is important to note that more needs to be done to ensure a minimum broadband penetration of about 70%-80% within the next five years.”
He called on all stakeholders in the technology and non-technology spheres to collaborate in building a broadband ecosystem that will help improve existing broadband services and significantly increase broadband penetration in the country, especially in the under-served and un-served regions in the country.
He said that the role of NITDA in the industry is critical in achievement of the new broadband penetration target stating that NITDA’s previous role is evident considering over 660 IT intervention centers it has established nationwide, Digital Divide Bridging Centers, Digital Job Creation Centers, Campus Area Networks for educational institutions, e-Learning centers for educational institutions, Virtual/Digital Library Centers and IT hubs.
He added that various broadband technologies such as VSAT, optic fiber, 4G, and microwave were deployed in these centers to ensure that beneficiaries enjoy full broadband enabled IT services.
According to him, NITDA has issued several policies, guidelines, and frameworks to help stimulate broadband penetration in the country which include Framework and Guidelines for Public Internet Access, Guidelines for Clearance of IT Project by Public Institutions, NITDA Public Key Infrastructure Regulations, Framework on Data Localization and Local Content Policy.