NNBP 2020-2025 targets deployment of nationwide fibre coverage —Pantami

Features of the latest Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025 have been revealed as it involves the deployment of nationwide fibre coverage to reach all State Capitals and provision of a point of presence in at least 90 per cent of Local Government Headquarters.

It also targets tertiary educational institutions, major hospitals in each state and fibre connectivity at statutory rates of N145/metres for Right of Ways (RoWs).

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, made the disclosure in his Address entitled, ‘Enhancing the Contributions of Stakeholders towards Nigerian National Broadband Plan through Enabling Policies’ at the Association of Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria’s (ATCON) Virtual Structured Engagement 2021 last week.

He said: “The Plan targets the deployment of nationwide fibre coverage to reach all state capitals and provision of a point of presence in at least 90 per cent of Local Government Headquarters. It also targets tertiary educational institutions, major hospitals in each state and fibre connectivity at statutory rates of N145/metre for Right of Ways (RoWs).”

The Stakeholders Engagement event was designed to discuss how to speed up the realisation of the set targets of Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020 – 2025).

Pantami said the NNBP outlines a trajectory for significantly improving the broadband penetration in Nigeria over a period of five years and that it replaced the initial Broadband Plan which expired in 2018.

Furthermore, he stated that the new broadband plan seeks to deliver data download speeds across Nigeria at a minimum of 25Mbps in urban areas and 10Mbps in rural areas, with effective coverage available to at least 90 per cent of the population and penetration rate of 70 per cent by 2025 at a price not more than N390 per 1GB of data (2 per cent of median income or 1 per cent of minimum wage).

According to him, in order to achieve the targets, the plan focused on recommendations in 4 focus areas, namely: Infrastructure, Policy, Demand Drivers, and Funding/Incentives.

These focus areas, he said, are further broken down into 55 initiatives towards the actualisation of the targets.

He disclosed that infrastructure is focused on building integrated infrastructure that is sustainable and resilient to close the gaps in addressing the broadband needs of the country and is geared towards extending broadband services to undeserved and underserved areas in Nigeria, saying that the Policy pillar addresses issues relating to the efficient use of spectrum, right of way, site acquisition policies, availability of infrastructure and market efficiency

Pantami said the diligent implementation of the recommendations in these focus areas through a multi-stakeholder approach will give the country a push into economic prosperity and create opportunities for job creation and innovation that will influence the GDP positively.

He also stated that the average cost of 1GB of data has reduced from the January 2020 cost of N1,000 to N487.18 in November 2020, surpassing the target of achieving N700/1GB by 2023.

Further, he said, the telecommunications sector recorded a growth rate of 15.90 per cent in the year 2020 from 11.41 per cent in 2019 and 11.33 per cent in 2018, making it the highest growth rate in the last 10 years.

Pantami added that an Open Access Model has been developed to support fibre connectivity across the country with the aim of achieving the 120,000km fibre reach.

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