According to the Nigerian Communications Commission, the number of Nigerians connected to high-speed internet or broadband increased to 83.3 million in the month of May 2022. As of April, the figure stood at 81.6 million. The increase to 83.3 million Nigerians in May is equivalent to a 43.67 percent increase in broadband penetration in Nigeria. In May, telecommunications operators in the country added a total of 1.6 million new broadband subscriptions according to data that the NCC released.
Last year, the Nigerian Government sounded its readiness for the implementation of the 5G technology. “On the 5G, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has spoken about the Federal Government’s position to deploy as soon as possible. Our state of readiness is very high. There’s an auction committee for 5G with a deployment plan ready. As you know, without a plan you cannot have a successful deployment”, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta said emphasizing that the NCC as a body is always in sync with the plans and decisions of the Government. The results that we are seeing regarding broadband expansion show that the country’s efforts at implementing the National Broadband Plan (NBP 2020-2025) are making headway and that the country is gliding steadily towards the implementation of the 5G technology. The government’s goal is to reach a target of at least 70 percent broadband penetration by 2025.
This expansion is being pushed by the expansion of 4G services across the country by telecommunications companies. By the time 5G is implemented, the expectation is that the number of people connected to broadband will increase.
Broadband expansion and penetration are important for a country like Nigeria because they will help increase the country’s GDP by at least 4.6 percent, according to a World Bank report. Also, there is the belief that increasing access to broadband can help address socio-economic challenges, improve digital literacy and the standard of education, etc.
Although gains may have been recorded in the month of May, the government’s policies on the purchase and activation of SIM cards may be a setback as subscriptions keep declining because of these policies.