FG unveils new 5-year National Broadband Plan

FG unveils new 5-year National Broadband Plan

- The need to boost Nigeria's broadband penetra*tion from its present coverage of 37.8 per cent to over 70 per cent in the next five years is in the pipeline

- This has formed the basis for the new National Broadband Plan (NBP):2020-2025

- A 25-member committee has been inaugurated in Abuja to carry out the plan

The minister of communications and digital economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami, has inaugurated a 25-member committee to ensure effective broadband pen*etration in Nigeria.

The committee comprising of key stakeholders in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry, was inaugurated by the minister in Abuja on Tuesday, December 17.

Dr Pantami also unveiled a new 5-year National Broadband Plan (NBP) 2020-2025 which is the sequel to the first NBP 2013-2018.

The new NBP committee has Ms Funke Opeke, Managing Director/CEO of Main One Cable Company Limited, as chairperson with Dr Bashir Gwandu as co-chairman.

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Engr. Ubale Maska, the executive commissioner, technical services, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is the secretary to the committee, supported by four staff of the ministry in the secretariat.

Legit.ng gathered that the committee is to develop a new National Broadband Plan that will be the guiding template for the development of this very important area of telecommunications.

FG unveils new 5-year National Broadband Plan

Dr Pantami (7th from right) and other members of the National Broadband Plan Committee 2020-2025 during the committee’s inauguration in Abuja. Photo credit: NCC
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The committee is also mandated to take a critical look at where the country is after a painstaking review of the 2013-2018 phase and the status of pen*etration now.

Furthermore, the members are expected to examine the challenges with a view to proffering solutions and look at the position of growing and emerging technologies among others.

The inauguration of the new committee was a follow-up to the launch of the National Policy for Digital Economy and Strategy by President Muhammadu Buhari, in November 2019.

The policy has eight pillars among which are developmental regulation, digital literacy and skills, solid infrastructure, service infrastructure, digital services development and production, digital society, emerging technologies and indigenous content development.

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The minister told the committee members to lay emphasis on the third pillar of the national policy which accommodates broadband and data centre, key components for economic growth and promotion of digital economy.

He explained that their work will address significantly one of the eight pillars and the remaining seven will also run as one of this all-important pillar.

Ms Opeke, who responded on behalf of the committee thanked the minister for the opportunity to serve and said the target of the committee is to achieve, at least, 65-70 per cent broadband pen*etration across Nigeria in the next five years, adding that the objective is technology neutrality for the right purpose.

Earlier in his goodwill message, the Executive Vice Chairman of Nigeria Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said broadband infrastructure remains one of the top priorities of the International Telecommunications Union to ensure people around the world have access to equitable and affordable broadband, wherever they are and whatever the circumstances they are in.

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With the adequate broadband infrastructure in place, Danbatta assured that everything else will fall into place.

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Recall that Dr Pantami recently declared that the onerous task of expanding the frontiers of growth in the ICT industry is a collective responsibility.

The minister stated that doing so requires the active collaboration of his ministry with its agencies and industry stakeholders.

He stated this on Thursday, December 12 as he shared his vision for the ICT and telecom sector during a special reception hosted in his honour by the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria in Abuja.

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