• Sunday, April 21, 2024
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BusinessDay

Nigeria plans Internet access for 774 LGAs to close digital divide

Lifi.net surpasses Nigeria’s median internet speed

Nigeria wants to provide Internet and digital access to all 774 local government secretariats in the country to improve connectivity in underserved and unserved areas.

It aims to achieve this through strategic partnerships and the deployment of fibre optics cable nationwide. The Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited and Galaxy Backbone, under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, will co-anchor the project, according to the Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr ‘Bosun Tijani.

The government hopes that improved connectivity will provide local governments with reliable and affordable Internet access and the resources required to deliver efficient public services, promote transparency, stimulate economic growth, and improve citizen engagement.

It states that implementing the project will drive transformation and unlock opportunities to deliver sustainable development in the country.

Part of what the government aims to includes, “With online government portals to digitalised service delivery platforms, improved connectivity will enable residents to access vital resources, apply for approvals and permits, and engage with local authorities more efficiently.”

It adds, “By acting as economic information hubs that can provide access to online markets and research for small and medium enterprises, local businesses can expand their reach, attract new customers and stimulate local economic activity.”

The government believes that with improved access to online educational resources, training programs and digital literacy initiatives, residents will be able to acquire the skills needed to thrive in the digital economy. The government is unclear about how it will fund its plan for Local Governments, stating it will ensure robust investment in broadband infrastructure without listing from where.

Internet access in the country continues to lag, with broadband access falling short of the government’s aim of 50 percent for 2023. Recently, Tijani, the minister of communications, announced that the Federal Government and the World Bank are collaborating to raise a sum of $3 billion to fund an additional 120,000km of fibre optic cables to boost broadband infrastructure and connectivity nationwide.

As of the end of 2023, only 78,676km of fibre optic cables have been deployed in the country.