Executive Vice Chairman, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, on Monday disclosed that the number of clusters of access gaps has been reduced to 114 from 217, in the Commission’s efforts to ensure that more Nigerians are digitally-included in the ICT ecosystem.
He revealed that Nigeria’s telecoms sector had reached basic internet subscription of 154 million; over 87 million broadband subscriptions, representing 45.93 per cent broadband penetration; over 207 million voice subscriptions with teledensity standing at 108.94 per cent as at October, 2020.
Danbatta made the disclosures when hosted a delegation from Autoridade Reguladora Nacional (ARN), the Telecom National Regulatory Authority of Guinea-Bissau who were in a week-long benchmarking visit to the Commission in Abuja recently.
The EVC pointed out that the NCC has through the implementation of various policy initiatives, particularly the National Broadband Plan (2020-2025), improved access to broadband for over 80 million Nigerians and targets the provision of Point of Broadband Access (PoA) in all the 774 local government areas (LGAs) of the country within the plan period.
Danbatta stated that challenges remain in the process, but noted that NCC was committed to addressing such challenges as the Right of Way (RoW) issue, multiple taxation, vandalism of telecom infrastructure, among others, confronting the licensees as they roll out services.
Danbatta, who is also the Chairman of the West African Telecommunication Regulatory Assembly (WATRA), the Nigerian Communications Commission has been recognised by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as Africa’s foremost regulatory organisation and has over the years received regulators from across Africa and beyond whose mission is to understudy the Commission.
He recalled the strong support to Nigeria by Guinea Bissau during the recently concluded election for the position of Executive Secretary of WATRA and the Chairmanship of the regional body, noting that the benchmarking visit underscores the cordial relationship, mutual cooperation and collaboration between both countries.
“The 16 members of the regional organization share a common vision in ensuring that the citizens are not digitally excluded and are cooperating to ensure that access to information and communication technology services are not only ubiquitous, but that they are available and affordable through effective national and regional policies,” Danbatta said.