According to recent reports in the Nigerian press, the country’s telecommunications regulator has started licensing last-mile satellite operators.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is in the process of issuing licences to last-mile satellite operators to provide broadband services in what are described as efforts to improve broadband services in the country.
The executive vice chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta, is said to have mentioned this at a virtual forum. The move to satellite last-mile services has become necessary, he suggested, to ensure ubiquitous broadband in Nigeria.
The NCC apparently provided a number of licences for the commercial satellite space segment last year; some 55 operators are said to have received landing permits.
The regulator is also reviewing the Infrastructure Company (InfraCo) framework, to align with the country’s new broadband plan.
The licensing of Infrastructure companies is, it seems, meant to extend capacities into the country’s hinterland through fibre infrastructure investments.
Danbatta said that this review also falls in line with the Commission’s efforts to ensure even deployment of broadband infrastructure across the country, and the utilization of submarine broadband connectivity that has landed at Lagos.
Subscriber statistics for June from the NCC apparently indicate that there are over 70 million broadband subscribers in the country, though it’s not clear whether this includes mobile broadband.
Nigeria has Africa’s largest mobile market, with about 173 million subscribers and a penetration rate of 123 percent, so it seems likely that the government’s plan to increase broadband penetration to 70 percent by 2021 will largely depend on mobile infrastructure.