Dr. Isa Pantami, the Nigerian Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, while speaking during a virtual training conference organized by the World Bank revealed Nigeria’s new broadband plan. The new plan for Nigeria’s broadband for 2020-2025 will have download speed targets of a minimum of 25 Mbps in urban areas and 10 Mbps in rural areas. The new plan also promises to have an effective coverage that would be available to at least 90 percent of the country’s population by 2025 and at a price that doesn’t exceed 390 naira for 1GB of data. The Minister made it known that the new broadband plan is aimed at making significant reduction in the gaps of access to the internet. The plan also seeks to increase broadband access throughout the country, with better and more effective access.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy explained that, ‘as at the time we commenced the process of drafting a new broadband plan to replace the expired plan, our broadband penetration in the country was just a little over 33 percent. As a result of the implementation of the new plan, this broadband penetration has significantly increased to 45.07 percent, as of November 2020. Much as these figures are impressive, we will not rest on our oars and will keep implementing initiatives to increase the broadband coverage in line with our plan’.
The importance of broadband cannot be over emphasized. According to the Minister, it is a major enabler of economic growth (and development) in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. A rise in the penetration of mobile broadband in a country can cause an increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of such country. The Minister went on to say that, ‘broadband supports the development of the digital economy and focus on growing the National Digital economy will also improve the nation’s traditional economy. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the contribution of ICT to the Gross Domestic Product of Nigeria rose to 17.83 percent in the second quarter of 2020’.
The new broadband when put in place will bring changes to the lives of people, businesses and would go a long way in contributing to the nation’s growth and development.