By Constance Imasuen
Abuja – Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has said that broadband penetration made remarkable improvement as it increased to about 33 per cent as at February.
Danbatta made this disclosure on Wednesday when Airtel Management visited the commission headquarters in Abuja.
“We have seen remarkable improvement in broadband penetration, the figure is about 33 per cent, we can attribute the progress to very ambitious expansion of network operators like Airtel and other network providers.
“We hit 30.9 per cent at the end of 2018; and we were supposed to hit 30 per cent by December 2018, so we have exceeded the expectation of Nigerians courtesy of the National Broadband plan.
“We are steadily seeing an increase in the penetration as at February we are almost at 33 per cent.
“Therefore, there is a new target, no official statement yet, but we are hearing from stakeholders that it is possible to hit 70per cent maybe in the next 5 years.
“No official statement has been made by the supervising Minister, who is the custodian of the National Broadband Plan.
“Very soon another target for the next five years will be made as the other one expired at the end of 2018,’’ he said.
Danbatta commended Airtel for expanding it services, especially the 4G and we are happy with this development because we are seeing remarkable improvement in broadband penetration.
“ We are seeing increase in broadband penetration, especially from services providers like Airtel and think it is important for Nigerians to hear of this and acknowledge what Airtel has been doing in the country,” he said.
The NCC boss also said that the country was witnessing steady increase in data usage using the 4G.
“ One important information we will want the media to communicate to the people is that henceforth, whatever penetration level we give in percentage terms will be in reference to the existing Nigeria populations of over 190 million plus estimated.
“This is courtesy of the figure given by the National Population Commission that the figure of 140 million that we have been using was no more relevant,” he said.
Earlier, Mr Raghunath Mandava, Managing Director of Airtel, Africa, said that they were in the commission to thank NCC for their support and discuss on future broadband growth.
Mandava said Nigeria was a critical market for Airtel; we are committed to making heavy investment to expand broadband and internet penetration to help digitalise the country.
Also, Mr Segun Ogunsanya, Managing Director, Airtel, Nigeria said Airtel was in the commission to say a big thank you to NCC for their support to the telecommunication industry.
Ogunsanya said that in the last couple of years there has been various milestone that had been achieved.
“This is due to NCC’s vision for the industry and their support for the operators in the industry.
“You create a level playing ground for all operators to do well and on behalf of entire Airtel family we say thank you and wish you continued success as you regulate and lead our industry to more prosperity.
“We recognize the obligations we have as one of the leading telecoms in this country; we create wealth, we support wealth, we connect people and like you said earlier we have got a very permissive 4G network.
“We share your ambition to create very deep penetration of broadband in the country; we are not going to shy away from our responsibility to the country to create the best 4G network, ‘’ he said.