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Faster Internet expected as broadband hits 50%

Broadband penetration is set to hit 50 per cent before the end of 2023, expanding fast Internet access to Nigerians.

In the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020 – 2025), the Federal Government set a 50 per cent broadband penetration target for 2023. In its policy document, the government set a broadband penetration target of “50 per cent of eligible individuals with provision for physically challenged,” for 2023.

The government has a 70 per cent target for 2025. According to data from the Nigerian Communications Commission, broadband penetration hit 48.20 per cent, with broadband subscriptions rising to 92.01 million. Since falling from 41.61 per cent in January 2022 to 40.91 per cent in February 2022, broadband penetration has been on a steady rise.

It rose from 42.24 per cent in March 2022 to 47.36 per cent in December 2022. It further climbed to 48.20 per cent in January. Broadband subscription has since risen from 80.68 million to 92.01 million, signifying an increase in the number of people enjoying fast Internet in the country.

According to the government, broadband refers to high-speed Internet connection, and broadband penetration is measured by the number of broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants. Increasing Internet penetration has been linked to increases in jobs and reduction of poverty.

A part of the broadband policy document, said, “Rapid rollout of broadband services will address various socio-economic challenges faced by the country, including the need to grow its economy, create jobs, rapidly expand the tax base, and improve digital literacy and educational standards.”

 Commenting on the growth of broadband penetration, the President of the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers, Adeolu Ogunbanjo, explained that the increase in Internet access will translate to an increase in digital opportunity for businesses and individuals in the country.

He said, “More Internet penetration means an increase in digital knowledge. Also, more businesses will go digital.

 “The cashless economy will also thrive. A lot of businesses will come online, and social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and the likes will get so much patronage, as more Nigerian businesses showcase their businesses.

 “Increasing penetration is good news, it will reduce poverty, and will level us up, digitally, with our counterparts in the world. Internet penetration will increase jobs, as well as ensuring that our people are getting more and more empowered.”

 Ogunbanjo noted that with the government set to surpass its broadband target for 2023, broadband penetration should rise to about 65 per cent to 75 per cent in two to three years. This he said, will further benefit Nigerians.

Recently, the World Bank stated that Internet availability increased labour force participation and wage employment in Nigeria by three percentage points and one percentage point respectively. It said this growth was achieved after three or more years of expanding Internet to new areas.

A lot about the digital economy, including electronic banking, e-governance, and more, is dependent on broadband penetration. According to experts, increasing penetration will ensure that the digital economy materialises.

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