Nigeria’s Federal Government Rolls Out New 5-Year National Broadband Plan
The crucial need to boost Nigeria’s broadband penetration from its present coverage of 37.8% to over 70% within in the next five years is the goal for the new National Broadband Plan NBP (2020-2025) according to Dr Isa Ali Pantami, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy.
Henry Nkemadu, the Director of Public Affairs at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) declared in a statement that besides this, pervasive broadband penetration would transform Nigeria into a truly digital economy. He said this at the recent inauguration of a 25 member committee in Abuja.
The new NBP 2020 -2025 is a sequel to the first NBP 2013 – 2018. The new NBP Committee has Ms Funke Opeke, the Managing Director/CEO of Main One Cable Company Limited, as the Chairperson with Dr Bashir Gwandu as Co-Chairman. Engr.Ubale Maska, the Executive Commissioner of Technical Services at the Nigerian Communications Commissions as the Secretary to the Committee. He will be supported by four staff members of the Ministry in the secretariat.
He said that the Committee would develop a new National Broadband Plan that would be the guiding template for the development of this vital sector of telecommunications.
The Committee will take a critical look at where Nigeria stands after doing a careful review of the 2013-2018 phase and the status of penetration now. The members are also expected to also examine the challenges with a view to offer solutions thereto. They will also look at the position of growing and emerging technologies, among others.
The inauguration of this new Committee is a follow up to the launch of the National Policy for Digital Economy and Strategy by President Muhammadu Buhari, in November 2019.
The policy has eight main pillars, among which are Digital Literacy and Skills, Developmental Regulation, Service Infrastructure, Solid Infrastructure, Indigenous Content Development and Digital Services Development and Production.
The Minister told the Committee members to emphasize the third pillar of the National Policy, which accommodates broadband and data centre, critical components for economic growth, and promotion of digital economy.
The Committee’s work, he explained, would go a long way in supporting the national digital economic policy and strategy for Nigeria’s Federal Government.
The 25-member Committee also has representatives from academia, NCC, MTN, Galaxy Backbone, Google, Defence Space Administration, NiRA, Nigerian Communications Satellite Ltd (NIGCOMSAT), National Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) and GSM Association among others.