Omobola Johnson, minister of communications technology, says Nigeria is expected to grow its broadband subscriber base to about 70 million by 2017, up from its current level of 46 million. In view of this, an initiative is being executed by the ministry of communications technology to expand internet access to the over 167 million population, which will also include encouraging more private investment in telecom infrastructure in the largely unserved rural communities. Johnson stated this in Barcelona, Spain while attending this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC), the world’s largest annual gathering of telecoms operator, mobile vendors, consumers and other stakeholders.
The project is also part of a larger plan aimed at migrating telecom consumers from voice calls to data traffic. Industry analysts told BusinessDay that this target was unattainable without the implementation of a broadband policy designed to attract the investment in broadband infrastructure needed to move available bandwidth capacity emanating from the underwater cable across the length and breadth of the country. Johnson stated in an interview with the BBC’s Newsday breakfast programme that “Nigeria has the capacity to grow broadband consumption to about 30 per cent in the coming years.”
“The ministry has a complete ICT policy thrust in place which aims also to increase broadband penetration in the country.”