Broadband penetration in Nigeria has risen to 39%, increasing the number of people in the country with access to high speed internet to 80 million, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said.
The NCC also revealed that the number of active telecom subscribers in the country stood at 185m as at December 2019.
Disclosing this when the Senate Committee on Communications paid an oversight visit to the commission in Abuja on Tuesday, the NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta added that active internet subscription by GSM, fixed wired and Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has increased to 126m.
He said: “Teledensity increased to 96.76 as at December, 2019, while total contribution of the telecom industry to the country’s GDP is now 10.60%.”
He told the senate committee led by its Chairman, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, that efforts were ongoing to leverage the television white space (TVWS) technology to extend affordable broadband services to Nigerians in the digitally excluded areas.
Garba added that NCC had developed guidelines for commercial satellite deployment, which had seen the registration of major satellite providers in the country.
“This will help to provide satellite-based broadband services to those hitherto excluded”, he said.
He said each of the 774 local government areas in the country would be provided with at least one broadband fibre Point of Access (PoAS) with internet speed of 10 Gbps in the next four years.
On the issue of 2.2m SIM cards recently deactivated by the commission, Prof Danbatta told the Senate Committee that the SIM cards would remain deactivated until their owners re-register them.
The industry regulator sought the committee’s help to fast track the passage of a bill, which seeks to place telecom infrastructure under National Critical Infrastructure (NCI).
Dambatta lamented that theft and damage of telecom infrastructure had increased in recent times, and this had affected quality of telecom services.
Responding, the committee’s members urged the NCC to do more in terms of network improvement, especially in the rural areas.
One of the members, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele said NCC’s Communication Act 2003 should be reviewed for possible amendment in order to make it respond to current realities in the industry.
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