FG plans N265bn in­vest­ment as broad­band pen­e­tra­tion drops • Ac­tive mo­bile tele­phone lines now 182 mil­lion

The Punch - - INFORMATIO­N TECHNOLOGY - ’Femi Asu

BROAD­BAND pen­e­tra­tion in Nige­ria dropped in Novem­ber for the first time in six months, data from the Nige­rian Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion showed.

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has said it plans to in­vest N265bn in broad­band in­fra­struc­ture over the next four years as it sets its sights on na­tion­wide cov­er­age and to boost an econ­omy re­cov­er­ing from a 2016 con­trac­tion.

The num­ber of 3G and 4G sub­scrip­tions in the coun­try de­clined to 71.98 mil­lion in Novem­ber from 72.29 mil­lion in Oc­to­ber.

Broad­band pen­e­tra­tion dropped to 37.71 per cent from 37.87 per cent in Oc­to­ber, ac­cord­ing to the NCC data.

The coun­try’s pen­e­tra­tion rate, which stood at 32.34 per cent in Jan­uary 2019, rose to 33.08 per cent in Fe­bru­ary; 33.22 per cent in March; and 33.70 per cent in April.

It fell to 33.13 per cent in May but in­creased to 33.31 per cent in June; 33.72 per cent in July; 35.10 per cent in Au­gust; and 35.40 per cent in

Septem­ber.

Broad­band pen­e­tra­tion is typ­i­cally mea­sured by the per­cent­age of the to­tal pop­u­la­tion with ac­cess to broad­band net­works out of each hun­dred.

The coun­try had set a fiveyear na­tional broad­band plan, which ran from 2013 to 2018, with the tar­get of a min­i­mum of 30 per cent broad­band pen­e­tra­tion from five per cent in 2013.

The NCC put the na­tion’s broad­band pen­e­tra­tion at 31 per cent in De­cem­ber 2018.

last year, the com­mis­sion set a new tar­get of 70 per cent broad­band pen­e­tra­tion to be at­tained in the next five years and said it had li­censed in­fra­struc­ture com­pa­nies to de­ploy the op­tic fi­bre across the coun­try.

The num­ber of ac­tive mo­bile tele­phone lines in Nige­ria rose to 182.43 mil­lion in Novem­ber from 180.12 mil­lion Oc­to­ber.

The reg­u­la­tor put the coun­try’s tele­den­sity at 95.71 in Oc­to­ber, com­pared to 94.50 in the pre­vi­ous month.

Tele­phone den­sity or tele­den­sity is the num­ber of tele­phone con­nec­tions for ev­ery 100 in­di­vid­u­als liv­ing within an area. it is cal­cu­lated us­ing the na­tion’s pop­u­la­tion of­fi­cial fig­ure against the pre­vail­ing monthly sub­scriber base.

last year, the NCC re­aligned the com­pu­ta­tion of the coun­try’s tele­den­sity with the lat­est pop­u­la­tion fig­ure of 190 mil­lion given by the Na­tional Pop­u­la­tion Com­mis­sion, up from the 140 mil­lion of 2006.

it noted that the re­align­ment was in line with the in­ter­na­tional Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion Union’s cal­cu­la­tion of tele­den­sity.

The gov­ern­ment will pro­vide N65bn for the broad­band project and six pri­vate in­fra­struc­ture com­pa­nies the bal­ance un­der a pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship, Bloomberg quoted the Ex­ec­u­tive Vice-chair­man, NCC, Prof. Umar Dan­batta, as say­ing in an in­ter­view.

The gov­ern­ment wants to in­crease con­nec­tiv­ity for the na­tion’s al­most 200 mil­lion peo­ple as part of a drive to boost busi­ness and help di­ver­sify the econ­omy away from the com­mod­ity.

Dan­batta said the coun­try planned to roll out ad­di­tional 30,000 kilo­me­tres (19,000 miles) of fi­bre across its 774 lo­cal gov­ern­ments, tak­ing the to­tal to 71,000 kilo­me­tres by 2024.

He said the pen­e­tra­tion rate could rise to 65 per cent from 38 per cent.

Ac­cord­ing to him, the com­mis­sion plans to start the project this year af­ter ob­tain­ing gov­ern­ment’s ap­proval.

“There will be data ev­ery­where in the coun­try and it will be cheap,” Dan­batta said.

•L-r:man­ager, Ca­pac­ity Build­ing Di­vi­sion, Nige­rian Con­tent De­vel­op­ment and Mon­i­tor­ing Board, Mr Mau­rice Iwhi­whu; Gen­eral Man­ager, Ca­pac­ity Build­ing Di­vi­sion, NCDMB, Dr Ama Ikiru; Di­rec­tor, Plan­ning Re­search and Sta­tis­tics, Mr Pa­trick Obah; and Com­mis­sioner for Ed­u­ca­tion, Kastina State, Dr Badamasi Lawal, dur­ing the clos­ing cer­e­mony of phase 2 of NCDMB Teach­ers De­vel­op­ment Train­ing Pro­gramme in Kastina State… on Satur­day. Photo: NCDMB

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