Broadband penetration in Nigeria increased by 1.21 percent from July to August. Data from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) showed.
Despite this increase, there’s been a consistent decline from January to May. Although a rise occurred in June, it dropped back in July by 0.18 percent. The month of August has so far seen the most significant increase.
According to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, the Federal Government hopes to achieve 90 percent broadband penetration in the country by 2023.
“We developed the National Broadband Plan 2020-2030, which targets a 90 percent penetration rate in terms of population and a 70 percent rate in terms of our total landmass within the next two years. It also targets a speed of 25mbps for urban areas while a 10mbps speed is targeted for rural areas,” Pantami said.
Experts in the telecom industry say that the nation needs higher capital investment to be able to implement its new broadband plan.
As broadband penetration shows a significant transformative impact on how people live and work, it also empowers subscribers with a global reach.
However, there are still factors limiting broadband penetration in Nigeria. These include network infrastructure, inadequate electrical power supply, right of way (RoW), cost of price, among others.
Infrastructure plays a major role in broadband penetration as it directly controls access and price. The inadequacy of domestic backbone networks which include is a major underlying factor limiting the growth of broadband access. The fibre optic backbone is mainly concentrated in urban areas and a few rural areas, which contributes to wide usage and coverage gaps.
Also, a steady power supply is key in accessing the internet, which unfortunately has not been addressed in Nigeria and has led to the limited use of the. The power supply has affected the installation and management of telecommunication infrastructure, leaving operators to rely solely on power generators which results in an increase in overhead cost thereby affecting productivity and return on investment (ROI).
The challenge of right of way and cost of price pose bigger threats to broadband penetration as it limits the building of network infrastructures.
RoW refers to the legal right granted to network operators to pass through certain routes either through the ground or over property that belongs to others. Telecommunication operators in Nigeria pay a huge amount of money to have access, as well as service providers, which have increased the cost of providing broadband access to end-users due to the high cost of installing network infrastructure.
Many states have continued to charge relatively high RoW fees and experts say the reduction in RoW charges will largely increase the expansion of fibre networks by telecom operators in Nigeria.