More Africa NewsNigeria: How NCC Convinced State Governments to Work On 70% Broadband Target

October 25, 2022by myles0

At the one-day Broadband Technical Awareness Forum (TAF) for Governors organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Thursday October 20, 2022, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, stakeholders agreed that it was high time that practical steps were taken to ensure that broadband implementation is taken serious at the subnational to achieve 70 per cent of the target set in the National Broadband Plan by 2025.

The forum was organized against the background of the fact that the availability, accessibility and affordability of broadband services and infrastructure across the country would unlock enormous opportunities in the telecommunications industry and the digital economy at large. It also was inspired by the need for States, therefore, to create Policy Frameworks and set well defined goals for broadband deployment at the subnational levels.

The forum was attended by over 170 delegates from the States, Federal Agencies. It was declared open by the Hon. Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami via 5G-enabled hologram. Welcome addresses were given by the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbata and the Chairman of the Board of NCC, Prof Adeolu Akande.

A goodwill message on behalf of the State Governors was delivered by his Excellency the Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, during which he highlighted the digital progress being made in Edo, especially in e-Governance in health and education, especially.

Broadband as Gift for Economic Emancipation

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, who declared the gathering open, reeled out the potentials of broadband for the citizens, saying it would be the best gift for their economic emancipation.

Pantami stated that greater support and collaboration will be required from the State governors towards addressing challenges to broadband infrastructure deployment by the telecom companies, which are expected to deploy required infrastructure to provide broadband services in all nooks and crannies of Nigeria.

“This is because, more than ever before, our security, economic and educational development rely on having state-based broadband structure and framework that will articulate the key targets in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025, and this is the essence of this forum today,” he said.

According to the Minister, access to broadband is globally recognized today as a necessity and not luxury and that explains Federal Government’s decision to develop broadband plans aimed at deepening in-country connectivity to enhance socio-economic development.

The Minister who established correlates between broadband penetration and growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), stated that countries with high density of broadband network have higher GDP per capital for the citizens. He said the steady growth in broadband penetration over the years in Nigeria is directly reflecting on the economic growth of the country.

Regulator’s Pitch for Broadband Diffusion

Chairman, Board of Commissioners at NCC, Prof. Adeolu Akande, had in his remarks, said Nigeria deserves to be in tune as the world goes digital in all spheres, as we cannot afford to lag in being among the countries leveraging broadband for socio-economic development. “We recognize the fact that Nigeria is a nation with federating units.

“Hence, it would be difficult to achieve faster and desired broadband penetration level without effective collaboration with the state governors,” he said. Akande particularly emphasised the centrality of synergy to tackle all challenges undermining broadband deployment, particularly multiple taxation, right of way (RoW), denial of access to telecoms sites for maintenance, vandalism, insecurity, among others” the Chairman of NCC Board of Commissioners said.

The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, in his own submission, said the objective of the event was to seek better understanding and rich resolutions to all issues affecting faster broadband deployment. He reminded participants that, “though we are making gradual progress towards our target, but this forum will provide us with deeper insights on how to address identified challenges to broadband deployment.”

Objectives of the Broadband TAF

Among the objectives of the TAF were to: Begin the process of developing a subnational strategy for deploying broadband facilities at the State levels to enable the achievement of the national broadband penetration target of 70% by 2025.

It was to provide a platform for engagement with State Governors to deepen their understanding of the impacts and potentials of coordinating and investing in broadband penetration strategies; and provide support for State Governments to establish State Broadband Coordinating Councils (SBCC) which would complement ongoing implementation of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020 – 2030

State Governors Readiness

Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, who delivered a goodwill message on behalf of other state governors and listed efforts made by state governments in encouraging broadband infrastructure deployment, assured stakeholders of the readiness and willingness of the state governments to work more with the Federal Government but emphasized the need for increased open dialogue and trust between the States and the Federal Government.

Obaseki gave an impressive report card about what he has already achieved with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the education sector, and many other sectors of the Edo State economy.

Technical Sessions

The Forum featured two key presentations as follows: Broadband, Last Mile Infrastructure Projects for Socio-Economic Development: Business Cases and Best Practices- Mr. Godfrey Sunday Ajayi (GMD, G-Consulting international; and The Economic Viability of Broadband Deployments Beyond the Cities: Funding Models and Procedure for Impact – Dr Steve Ogidan (CEO, Successory Nigeria Ltd). The moderated panel session focused on “Broadband Deployment beyond the Cities, and Funding Models (Investors, Venture Capitalists, Infracos, Grantmakers).

Benefits of Broadband to Economy

The forum noted that the ICT sector which had been the driver of the Digital Economy contributed 18.44 per cent to the total Nigerian real GDP in Q2 2022, and that, in particular, connectivity and digital technologies had always been responsible for economic development all over the world, including in security, political and civic engagements.

It was observed that the formalization of Government online meetings had ensured that governance could go on unhindered notwithstanding physical location of members and of the Federal Executive Council and State Executive Councils, among other arms of Government.

It was revealed that the forum that over 83.3 million subscribers were on broadband networks of 3G and 4G which were having practical and positive impact across sectors of the economy, including household consumptions, healthcare, education, agriculture, finance, transportation, commerce, governance, among others. Also, that Digital Technology would be directly relevant to the implementation of the vision and target of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.


The Forum called on State Governments to establish State Seed-Funds for Broadband Infrastructure deployment, co-ordination, and facilitation without further delay and as part of the 2023 Appropriation Act; and collaborate and cooperate with the Federal and the Ministry Communications and Digital Economy to build out and implement broadband infrastructure at the State level.

State Governments were called to stablish and institutionalize State Broadband Councils, using the strategy of stakeholder engagement, policy framework, capacity development, funding operations, program evaluation and evolution. They are also to: Adopt a Public-Private-Partnership model for infrastructure build out, funding and driving broadband penetration in the States, especially for cost reduction.

The subnational governments were also charged to consider waiving their Right of Way charges for the greater benefits occasioned by broadband access for overall economic development for the States; and to develop State based Broadband Plans and frameworks, including funding and sustainability models for broadband penetration.

The Forum also called on the Regulator, NCC, to pay attention to anti competition practices, for instance, by multinational organizations, which muzzle out small operators, especially in Internet Service provisioning.


The Forum resolved that: Each State Government should, after a publication of the guidelines for the operation of the State Broadband Councils, constitute the Council at the State level with clear Terms of Reference and institutional support latest by the first quarter of 2023. Also, the States would be ready to support and work with the Federal Government on the proviso that there would be openness, mutual trust, and collaboration among the parties.

It was agreed that there should be further and deeper conversations using the platform of more and continuous technical workshops, which would involve critical stakeholders (Regulators, Investors, Federal Government, and State Government and other stakeholders). Such further conversations would focus on giving effect to the original objectives and operational model of the licensed INFRACOs and models of incentivizing private sector to invest in the rural and underserved areas.

In closing, the forum expressed deep gratitude to the Hon. Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, the NCC and the State Governors, who attended or were represented, for their support so far. It also thanked the speakers, panelists, stakeholders, and the media who participated at the TAF.

Read the original article on Leadership.

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