LAGOS – Ms Sonia Jorge, the Executive Director of Africa For Affordable Internet (A4AI), on Monday said that affordability was critical to increasing internet usage in Nigeria. Jorge said at a A4AI Coalition Meeting in Lagos that internet remained unaffordable for the vast majority of Nigerians; hence, they were not using it.
She noted that the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) fixed internet plan cost at $39 in 2013.
According to her, the amount is 39 per cent of the average monthly income of a Nigerian.
The director added that mobile broadband plan cost $13, which accounted for 13 per cent of the average monthly income of a Nigerian.
“Over 120 million Nigerians live on less than two dollars per day.
“For many of these people, an entry level connection cost 64 per cent or more of monthly income.
“Nigeria was ranked 142 out of 169 countries by the ITU for the affordability of a fixed broadband connection in 2013, while A4AI’s Affordability Report, 2013 ranked Nigeria 19 out of 46 developing countries,’’ she said.
According to her, for Nigeria to become one of the world’s leading economies by year 2020, high-speed broadband networks that will provide every Nigerian with fast, reliable and affordable internet access is a fundamental requirement.
She urged the Federal Government not to relent in ensuring the realisation of the objectives of the National Broadband Plan 2013-2018.
“We believe that the main barrier to increased access is lack of affordability.
“ We know that policy and regulatory frameworks urgently need to be updated to unlock technological advances and drive prices down,’’ Jorge said.
Dr Ernest Ndukwe, a former Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), said that state governors should be involved in making the internet affordable.
Ndukwe said that the governors should understand the benefits of broadband, and facilitate its rollout.
The Africa Regional Coordinator of A4AI, Ms Nnenna Nwakanma, urged that Internet Service Providers should be transparent in the pricing of the internet data plan.
Nwakanma said that many Nigerians had yet to go online because they were unsure of the pricing of the internet.
“There is the need to educate people who go online on the usage of the internet and which areas of the internet cost more,’’ she said. (NAN)