Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, minister of communications and digital economy, has urged the Swedish Government to support Nigeria’s quest to deploy more robust broadband infrastructure in the country, for economic growth and prosperity.
Speaking on Wednesday night, in Abuja, at a dinner hosted by Carl-Michael Grans,the Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, Pantami who was represented by Umar Garba Danbatta, the executive vice-chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said Nigeria has embarked on a digital transformation journey and efforts are ongoing to ensure evacuation of the massive data capacity at landing points to the hinterland.
“We have a plan to move the massive capacity from landing point to hinterland. To do that, we know we have to put in place the necessary infrastructure that will facilitate it. We would, therefore, like the Swedish Government to buy into this great idea of deploying this massive broadband infrastructure which is fiber-driven,” he said.
According to him, the project will see a quantum access of 10gbps in each of the 774 local governments of the country.
“We appreciate the important intervention that you are giving to this country, especially to this sector of the economy we are managing on behalf of the Federal Government. The statistics are there for all to see. The broadband penetration, for instance, is about 40 percent but this is 40 percent of close to 200 million people, which translates to about 80 million Nigerians having access to high-speed internet together with the volume associated with broadband networks,” he explained.
The minister, however, noted that as the country’s population is close to 200 million and the government would not rest on its laurels until everyone has access to high-speed internet as well as the volume associated with the network.
On internet penetration, Pantami observed that figures recently released by the NCC indicate that almost 125 million Nigerians have access, but lamented that close to 31 million Nigerians are still within unserved and underserved areas.
Nigeria achieved its 5-year National Broadband target of 30 percent in December 2018 and since then the level of penetration has remained steady.
It could be recalled that the broadband penetration was less than 6 percent when President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Danbatta as the chief executive officer of the NCC.