Boosting Broadband Penetration: NCC’s Commitment and Achievements

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L-R: Director, Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Reuben Muoka; Chairman, Nigerian Union of Journalists, Kano Chapter, Aminu Garko; Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, NCC, Ubale Maska; Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta; Head, Women and Children Department, Nasara Radio, Aisha Abdulmalik and Head of Station, Rahma Radio/TV Abuja, Nafiu Yahaya, during an interactive session with media stakeholders in Kano at the weekend

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is redoubling its efforts to achieve the national target of 70 percent broadband penetration by 2025, with an ambitious promise to reach 50 percent by the end of 2023.

This commitment was announced during a special media chat with executive editors and media chiefs in northern Nigeria, hosted by Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Chairman of the Commission.

At this event, Danbatta revealed his numerous achievements since taking office, highlighting that Fifth Generation (5G) services subscriptions had already surpassed half a million.

The Commission’s tireless endeavors to boost broadband penetration have yielded impressive results, with the current estimate as of July 2023 standing at 47.01 percent.

The NCC’s strategic approach, built on the foundation of a reviewed five-pillar Strategic Vision Plan, has led to the accomplishment of 119 milestones under these pillars: regulatory excellence, universal broadband, market development, digital economy, and strategic collaboration.

Danbatta emphasized that, under his leadership and with the cooperation of stakeholders, the telecommunications industry in Nigeria has achieved remarkable milestones. Active telephone subscribers have surged from less than 150.7 million to 218.9 million, reflecting a teledensity growth of 115.70 percent since 2015.

Through extensive efforts in broadband infrastructure expansion, broadband penetration, which was a mere 6 percent in 2015, has soared to an impressive 47.01 percent as of July 2023. This has resulted in over 89.73 million subscriptions on 3G, 4G, and 5G networks, with general Internet subscriptions reaching 159.5 million, up from less than 100 million in 2015.Furthermore, the telecommunications sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has risen from 8 percent in 2015 to 16 percent quarterly in the second quarter of 2023. The sector’s investment profile has also surged, climbing from $38 billion in 2015 to $75 billion, and still growing daily.

Additionally, the NCC has generated over $847.8 million for the Federal Government through the sale of Fifth Generation (5G) C-Band Spectrum.Danbatta, who has received numerous awards for his outstanding leadership in Nigeria’s telecom industry, listed various achievements recorded since 2015.

These include the introduction of Spectrum Trading Guidelines, spectrum band re-farming and re-planning for efficiency, the release of C-Band Spectrum by Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Limited, and the implementation of the Expanded Revenue Assurance Solution (ERAS) to enhance government revenue from the telecoms industry.

Other initiatives include Licensing of Satellite Earth Stations, the granting of an operating license to SpaceX Satellite, the facilitation of additional submarine cables such as the Google 2,000km Equiano subsea Internet cable, the listing of MTN on the Nigerian stock exchange, the licensing of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), and the regulation of white space spectrum.

As part of the NCC’s commitment under Danbatta’s leadership, the Commission has established professorial chairs in Nigerian universities and invested over N500 million in Research and Development (R&D) within the telecoms sector.

The creation of the Digital Economy Department and the Nigeria Office for Developing Indigenous Telecom Sector (NODITS) are also significant strides.The NCC has prioritized consumer-focused initiatives, including the establishment of Emergency Communications Centres (ECCs) in over 30 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), alongside the creation of the Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT).

These initiatives provide timely support during emergencies and enhance online protection for telecom consumers.In addition, the NCC has taken decisive actions on consumer protection, introducing data roll-over, toll-free numbers for service-related complaints, the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) 2442 Short Code to combat unsolicited messages, and measures against forceful/deceptive subscriptions and call masking.

The Commission has also launched National Roaming service and reduced access gaps to telecom services from over 217 to 97, ensuring more Nigerians can access telecom services.

Despite challenges such as vandalism, securing Right of Way (RoW) from governmental stakeholders, and regulatory complexities, the NCC is dedicated to collaborating with stakeholders to overcome these obstacles and sustain the telecom sector’s role as a driver of socio-economic development in Nigeria.

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