More than 64.3 million Nigerians now have access to broadband Internet, the Nigerian Communications Commission has said.
The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta, said this in a presentation at the Digital Africa Conference and Exhibition, which began at Base University, Abuja, on Tuesday.
Danbatta, who was represented at the event by a director in the commission, Mrs Iyabo Solanke, also said that the commission would encourage the use of new technology, television White Space, for broadband penetration in rural communities.
He said, “As of April 2019, the broadband penetration stood at 33.7 per cent compared with 8.5 per cent penetration in 2015. In real figures, Nigeria has more than 64.3 million subscriptions on broadband services.
“The commission believes that access to telecoms must not be the exclusive privilege of the elite, hence we have initiated the process for the utilisation of Television White Space technology to extend affordable broadband services to the rural, underserved and un-served areas in the country.
“We have also licensed infrastructure companies across the six geopolitical zones in the country. The Infraco licensing is coming under the Open Access Model initiative of the NCC aimed at deepening broadband infrastructure.”
Danbatta added that the efforts of the Infracos in increasing broadband penetration would be encouraged in practical terms with the award of subsidies, which are expected to make their services affordable.
Speaking at the event, Convener of Digital Africa, Dr Evans Woherem, said that Africa should not lose out on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, noting that a country like South Africa had created a Ministry for Fourth Industrial Revolution.
He said, “Africa needs to be part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution since we missed out on the previous great leaps in human innovation. It is time for Africa to make the right choices in order to also be able to create and enjoy abundance here in Africa and truly be a part of the world.”
Woherem said that the coming age of abundance, which would be ushered in by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, was a time in which technological process would bring about enormous amounts of energy and resources for the global population.