Nigeria plans to achieve 30 per cent broadband penetration by 2018 and with the right policies in place and an enabling environment, President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Mr. Olusola Teniola says ‘anything is possible’.
In 2016, some statistics from Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) suggested a 20.9 per cent broadband penetration, though this is yet to be verified, it is evident that penetration is skewed in the trendy areas of Lagos, Abuja and piecemeal in Port Harcourt.
Any further increase will need to be on the back of infrastructure companies and other network roll-outs outside these geographical regions to prevent a ‘have against have-not’ landscape occurring.
Teniola believes the year 2017 is a year when telecoms in Nigeria need to have implementable programmes in place to ensure they are on track to achieve the 2013 National Broadband Plan of 30 per cent broadband penetration by end of 2018.
Surely, the telecoms industry needs all government agencies in charge of and responsible for infrastructure at state level to work with and support the roll-out of much needed fibre optic metro infrastructure that supports the whole eco-system to deliver on the promises made in the NBP.
Furthermore, the industry needs government policies in place that will attract much needed investments to support the capital expenditure that needs to be undertaken to realise the country’s vision of a digital transformation (smart cities, e-government and Internet of Things).
The president of ATCON believes that until government allows telecommunication equipment to be on the preferred list of items that can access cheaper dollars to the naira, it is hard to see where the further growth will come from in 2017. Without expansion of networks or increase in capacity upgrades, the networks will not be able to sustain QoS or even improve on it and revenue will stagnate or decline. Again, government needs to show strong leadership on this critical issue, says ATCON president.