The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI)—the world’s broadest technology sector coalition—is rallying prominent players from government, the private sector, and civil society to work to reduce the cost of a broadband connection and enable billions more to come online.
The theme of meeting scheduled for Thursday, July 5, 2018 in Abuja is ‘Digital Inclusion: Opportunities and Strategies for a New Nigeria Broadband Plan’.
A4AI-Nigeria is making affordable access possible by advocating for policy and regulatory reform in the areas as Infrastructure Sharing, Open Access and Spectrum and Consumer Advocacy and Pricing Transparency, including Taxation, Universal Access and other Fiscal Issues.
The meeting is open to all stakeholders committed to promoting policy and regulatory reform to make affordable internet possible in Nigeria.
TechEconomy.ng gathered that the meeting will focus on stakeholder inputs for a new broadband plan that seeks full digital inclusion for all Nigerians.
The Coalition had similar meeting in November 2017, discussing issues around infrastructure Sharing, Open Access and Spectrum.
NCC optimistic to attain and possibly surpass NBP 2013-2018 recommendation
In spite bottlenecks faced by telecommunication operators in Nigeria, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said it is optimistic to attain and possibly surpass the recommendation of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) by the end of 2018.
It could be recalled that the NBP was instituted to help accelerate the broadband rollout plan from 2013-2018 which is the Federal Government target at getting broadband access to all in the country.
The Commission said that with a combination of licenses for infrastructure provisioning and spectrum auctions, and re-farming of some of the existing spectrum to make them more efficient, attaining the target 30% broadband penetration is now in sight.
The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta, stated this recently during an interactive session with media executives in Lagos, saying that the Commission’s ‘3-A’ agenda of availability, accessibility and affordability is hinged on broadband deployments across the country.
“The potentials in broadband penetration are enormous which explains why the entire global community is investing huge resources to exploit, and assimilate broadband that is expected to guide global economic index of development in the future”, he said.
A World Bank study has concluded that a 10% point increase in fixed broadband would increase Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth by 1.21% in developed economies, and 1.38% in developing ones hence, the clamour for deployment of broadband.
“The Nigerian Communications Commission is not relenting in leading Nigeria to that destination of pervasive broadband services. Within the threshold of the third year of five-year eight-point agenda, the Commission has made satisfactory progress towards realizing the objectives of the agenda, especially as it relates to broadband penetration.
“A major milestone was achieved recently with the licensing of four Infrastructure Service Providers (InfraCos). Recently, Zinox Technology Limited was licensed for broadband infrastructure provisioning for South East zone while Brinks Integrated Solutions Limited was issued license for the North East Zone.
“Infrastructure Company Limited, a subsidiary of MainOne Cable Company, had earlier been licensed to provide services in Lagos while HIS was issued a license to cover North Central zone, including Abuja.
“The InfraCo licenses are based on the NCC’s Open Access Model (OAM) in line with the National Broadband Plan. Licenses are being processed for South South, South West and North West zones.
“With a combination of licenses for infrastructure provisioning and spectrum auctions, and re-farming of some of the existing spectrum to make them more efficient, we hope to attain the recommendation of the National Broadband Plan and possibly surpass it by the end of 2018”, said the EVC.
However, an International Telecommunications Union (ITU) report credited to Nigeria indicated a 22% broadband penetration was achieved last year. In other words, the Commission is expected to lead to industry to attain eight percent penetration this year to match the NBP set target.
“Therefore, the Commission is working assiduously to accomplish the 30% national target for 2018 as envisaged in the National Broadband Plan,” the EVC said.