Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has urged the Swedish government to support Nigeria’s quest to deploy more robust broadband infrastructure in the country to aid economic growth and prosperity.
The Minister, speaking through the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, at a dinner in Abuja hosted by the Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, Carl-Michael Grans, said that Nigeria has embarked on a digital transformation journey.
“We have a plan to move the massive capacity from landing point to hinterland. To do that, we know we have to put in place the necessary infrastructure that will facilitate it. We would, therefore, like the Swedish government to buy into this great idea of deploying this massive broadband infrastructure which is fibre-driven,” he explained.
He went further to say that the project will see a quantum access of 10 gigabits per second (gbps) in each of the 774 local governments of the country.
“We appreciate the important intervention that you are giving to this country, especially to this sector of the economy we are managing on behalf of the federal government.
“The statistics are there for all to see. The broadband penetration, for instance, is about 40 per cent but this is 40 per cent of close to 200 million people, which translates to about 80 million Nigerians having access to high-speed internet together with the volume associated with broadband networks,” Pantami stressed.
The minister went on to promise that despite the country’s growing population, the government will not rest until all Nigerians have access to high-speed internet as well as the volume associated with the network.
On internet access, Pantami observed that figures recently released by the NCC indicate that almost 125 million Nigerians have access, but lamented that close to 31 million Nigerians are still within unserved and underserved areas.
He said that Nigeria achieved its five-year National Broadband target of 30 per cent in December 2018 and since then the level of penetration has remained steady. Nigeria’s Broadband penetration was less than six per cent when President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Prof Danbatta as the CEO of the NCC.