Broadband access in Nigeria is currently accelerating at an impressive rate, but it builds on very humble beginnings. In 2000, Africa’s most populous nation had a meagre 79,000 internet users out of a population of 122.5 million – less than 0.1% of the country’s inhabitants…
Broadband access in Nigeria is currently accelerating at an impressive rate, but it builds on very humble beginnings. In 2000, Africa’s most populous nation had a meagre 79,000 internet users out of a population of 122.5 million – less than 0.1% of the country’s inhabitants.
But that has all changed in last two decades. Nigeria’s broadband development has seen incredible growth. Most recently, the National Broadband Plan (NBP) 2013–2018 aimed to quintuple the nation’s broadband coverage and succeeding in doing so, bolstering it from 4–5% in 2013 to 31.5% in 2018.
The coverage continued to rise in 2019, though a specific plan from the government failed to materialise until late in the year, when the government announced its new goal to reach broadband coverage of 70% by 2025 as part of the NBP 2020–2025.
With the turn of the decade, we are beginning to see the wheels of this plan begin to turn. The NCC has now announced a new investment of 263 billion naira (~$732 million) over the next 4 years.
The Nigerian government will invest 65 billion naira, with the bulk of the remaining sum to be provided by six private infrastructure companies.
The investment will focus on deploying 30,000 km of fibre by 2024, almost doubling the existing 41,000 km.
As much of the world speculates about 5G, Nigeria’s focus remains on broader coverage for its citizens.
“I believe our objective is not to favour one technology over another but to figure out how we can get those critical services to many more Nigerians,” said Funke Opeke, MD/CEO of Main One Cable Company Limited and the chairperson of the NBP Committee, speaking about the new NBP.
“We’ll be a mix of technologies, but the objective is not to favour one technology over another or to be prescriptive, but [to use] the right technology for the right purpose — the most competitive technology that enables us deliver services to all Nigerians."
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