According to Nigerian news reports, the country’s federal government has released a new five-year National Broadband Plan (NBP) to cover 2020-2025. Its aim is to boost broadband penetration from its present coverage of 37.8 percent to over 70 percent in the next five years.
This follows on from the first NBP 2013 – 2018, which achieved its aim of increasing penetration to 30 percent.
A 25-member committee has been inaugurated in the capital Abuja, made up of both public and private players, to spearhead achievement of the national plan. The committee is to take a critical look at where the country is at the moment, reviewing the 2013-2018 plan, examining the challenges of broadband penetration and offering potential solutions. The committee members will also be asked to look at the position of growing and emerging technologies.
The inauguration of this new committee is a follow-up to the launch of the National Policy for Digital Economy and Strategy in November 2019. The main pillars of the policy include Developmental Regulation, Digital Literacy and Skills, Solid Infrastructure, Service Infrastructure, Digital Services Development and Production, Digital Society Emerging Technologies and Indigenous Content Development.
Of course, the options before the committee are by no means in the fixed-line-broadband area, in a continent where much broadband use involves mobile devices. In particular the chair of the committee, Ms Funke Opeke, managing director/CEO of Main One Cable Company Limited, noted the growth of 5G. However, she said: “I believe our objective is not to favour one technology over another…but the right technology for the right purpose, the most competitive technology that enables us to deliver services to all Nigerians.”