Nigeria Plans to Broaden Broadband

The government of Nigeria is considering tax waivers and deployment of satellite resources in its plan to improve broadband penetration, IT Web Africa reports.

Despite having recently admitted that the country would be unable to reach its 2018 broadband penetration target of 30%, Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the regulator is recommending a review of the country’s fiscal and monetary policies to facilitate a tax waiver on the importation of telecoms infrastructure.

The NCC head said one of the reasons why broadband penetration is still low in Nigeria is the non-availability of some critical broadband infrastructure brought about by the country’s current policies that are “inimical to telecoms development”.

“The critical infrastructure that are needed to drive fast broadband penetration is not yet available in the country and where such infrastructure exist, they are not adequate to enhance faster broadband penetration,” Danbatta said.

“NCC acknowledges the enormity of the task the industry has at hand in the area of driving broadband penetration and providing telephony services to the approximately 36.8 million people identified as underserved and unserved. These are groups, whose right to inclusive ICT services we have continued to echo by stimulating and facilitating the deployment, utilisation and adoption of ICTs in their communities.”

Satellite to the rescue

In a related development, Nigeria’s satellite company, Nigeria Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT), has affirmed that the country would be able to increase its broadband penetration if it fully deploys satellite services.

According to the company’s head of public affairs, Adamu Idris, NIGCOMSAT is committed to accelerating the West African nation’s robust ICT infrastructure as a way of boosting development.

In a move that has already received the backing of Nigeria’s communications minister Adebayo Shittu, Idris said NIGCOMSAT would be supporting broadband access in Nigeria by deploying the country’s satellites resources including the ones that Nigeria is planning to acquire.

“We are committed to using the country’s satellite resources towards developing the needed infrastructure platform for engendering overall economic development. With just 10 percent broadband penetration in the country, Nigeria’s satellites resources both existing and soon-to-be-acquired satellites would be put into playing even greater role in the country,” Idris said.

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