HM’s Address at ATCON Virtual Stakeholders Engagement on NNBP

May Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon you!  

I am very delighted to speak at this important event as we discuss how to  speed up the realization of the set targets of Nigerian National Broadband  Plan (2020 – 2025). I wish to thank the Association of Telecommunications  Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) for organizing this auspicious event and  inviting me to deliver the keynote address.  

Broadband technology is a contributor to economic growth at several levels.  It supports the development of the digital economy, consequently  improving the nation’s traditional economy. Broadband enhances financial  inclusion, security, education and is a key enabler for all the other sectors of  the economy. 

According to a Report by Ericsson titled “How Important Are Mobile  Broadband Networks for Global Economic Development”, 10% increase in  mobile broadband penetration results in approximately 0.6% to 2.8% rise in  gross domestic product (GDP). This reflects how much of an impact  Broadband can have on the economy, if channeled properly.

In recognition of the tremendous economic growth opportunities afforded  by the deployment of broadband technologies, I inaugurated a Presidential  Committee on the 16th of December 2019 to draft the Nigerian National  Broadband Plan (NNBP) for Nigeria (2020-2025). The Committee was made  up of a wide range of stakeholders- Nigerians with expertise across the  public and private sector. The NNBP was unveiled and launched by His  Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, on the 19th of March,  2020. Mr President also provided the mandate that was included in the Plan. 

The Plan outlines a trajectory for significantly improving the broadband  penetration in Nigeria over a period of 5 years. It replaced the initial  Broadband Plan which expired in 2018. The new broadband plan seeks to  deliver data download speeds across Nigeria at a minimum of 25Mbps in  urban areas, and 10Mbps in rural areas, with effective coverage available to  at least 90% of the population and penetration rate of 70% by 2025 at a price  not more than N390 per 1GB of data (2% of median income or 1% of  minimum wage).  

The Plan targets the deployment of nationwide fibre coverage to reach all  State Capitals, and provision of a point of presence in at least 90% of Local  Government Headquarters. It also targets tertiary educational institutions,  major hospitals in each state and fibre connectivity at statutory rates of  N145/meter for Right of Way (RoW). 

In order to achieve these targets, the plan focused on recommendations in 4  focus areas, namely: 

  1. Infrastructure 
  2. Policy 
  3. Demand Drivers 
  4. Funding/Incentives 

These focus areas are further broken down into 55 initiatives towards the  actualization of the targets. (Infrastructure (Infrastructure- 14, Policy – 23,  Demand Drivers- 12, Funding & Initiatives- 6).  

Infrastructure is focused on building integrated infrastructure that is  sustainable and resilient to close the gaps in addressing the broadband needs  of the country and is geared towards extending broadband services to  undeserved and under served areas in Nigeria. The Policy pillar addresses  issues relating to the efficient use of spectrum, right of way, site acquisition  policies, availability of infrastructure and market efficiency.  

Demand Drivers address barriers to the low usage rate and adoption of  broadband services in the Country. Funding/Incentives identify the  relevant financial incentives, fiscal policy, economic models and funding  options to help the achievement of broadband penetration targets. 

The diligent implementation of the recommendations in these focus areas through a multi-stakeholder approach will give the country a push into  economic prosperity and create opportunities for job creation and innovation that will influence the GDP positively.


Strategic Engagements with Key Stakeholders  

Bearing in mind the need for continuous engagement with Stakeholders, I  have had a number of strategic engagements with key stakeholders to ensure  the smooth implementation of the Plan. 

Meeting with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum 

For example, I had an engagement with the members of the Nigeria  Governors’ Forum (NGF), facilitated by the Chairman of the Forum- the  Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi. The meeting took place on the  22nd of January 2020 and I was accompanied to that meeting by the Chief  Executive Officers of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the  National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), as well as  the Chairman of the Broadband Plan Drafting Committee and CEO of Main  One- Engr Funke Opeke.  

At that meeting, I made a presentation on the benefits of broadband and  requested the buy-in of the Governors for the implementation of Broadband  Plan and the Digital Economy Policy for a Digital Nigeria, The Governors  unanimously agreed to adopt a maximum of N145/linear metre. Some of  the governors have even waived this amount altogether. Many of the  Governors have begun full implementation and some have notified us in  writing.  

We received reports that some States have introduced some extraneous 

We received reports that some States have introduced some extraneous charges that have increased the charges beyond the amount agreed. We are discussing with States involved in such cases, with a view to addressing the  disparity.

Meeting with National Economic Council 

Last week, on the 18th March 2021 to be precise, I addressed the National  Economic Council (NEC). The meeting was chaired by His Excellency, the  Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo and it had more than 30 Governors in  attendance. 

I made a detailed presentation on the importance of broadband to the  economy of the country and discussed the impact of ICT and telecoms on  the economy, as reported by the National Bureau of Statistics in the 4th Quarter GDP Report. The ICT sector grew by 14.70% in the 4th Quarter, over  4 times the next fastest growing sector. Furthermore, the ICT sector also  grew by 12.90% in 2020, more than 3 times the growth rate of the second  fastest growing sector. These statistics do not even include digital services,  which constitute a major part of the digital economy. I then emphasized the  need for the Governors to abide by the earlier resolution of N145/linear  metre.  

There was a robust question and answer session, where many of the  governors commended our modest efforts and urged their colleagues to  abide by the resolution. His Excellency, the Vice President, also urged the Governors to support the implementation of the Broadband Plan by abiding  to the Right of Way resolution.

Some of the governors also emphasized the need for the operators to ensure  that they repair the roads that they damage during the installation of fibre  optic cables. I use this forum to urge all operators to ensure that this is done.

NNBP: Progress Made  

i. As at the time we commenced I started supervising the Ministry in  August 2019 and we began the process of drafting the Broadband  Plan, our broadband penetration in the country was just over 33%.  As a result of the implementation of the new plan, the broadband  penetration significantly increased to 45.07% by November 2020. 

ii. Our engagement with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum in January  2020 has inspired several state governments to adopt the  N145/meter and a few of these States have even waived the fee  altogether.  

iii. The average cost of 1GB of data has reduced from the January 2020  cost of N1,000 to N487.18 in November 2020, surpassing the target  of achieving N700/1GB by 2023. 

iv. Furthermore, the telecommunications sector recorded a growth rate  of 15.90% in the year 2020 from 11.41% in 2019 and 11.33% in 2018,  making it the highest growth rate in the last 10 years. This  performance is unprecedented. 

v. His Excellency, President Buhari, GCFR has directed the security  agencies to protect all Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) across  the country and I have directed the Nigerian Communications Commission to engage stakeholders in order to have a legislation  that criminalizes any one that vandalizes equipment identified as a  CNI. 

vi. An Open Access Model has been developed to support fibre  connectivity across the country with the aim of achieving the  120,000km fibre reach. We have had an increase from 47,000km to  54,725km.  

vii. The 3G/4G Base Station Transceivers (BTS) have increased from  30,000 to 53,460.  

viii. Also, regarding the deployment of National Satellite Broadband,  NIGCOMSAT is in discussion with some operators to provide  mobile back haul solutions to about 1000 sites in the remote  undeserved areas and the process for getting a backup satellite for  Compensation has been initiated. 

ix. A policy has been developed in line with the Duct Network  Development/Dig Once initiative to greatly reduce the down-time  that results from fibre cuts. There is also a plan towards engaging  with other relevant Ministries in this regard.  

x. We are promoting the efficient use of assigned Spectrum through  the enforcement of the “Use it, Trade it or Lose it” Policy on  Spectrum.

xi. We have developed draft guidelines on Television White Spaces  (TVWS) and the document is undergoing legal review.

The journey is encouraging and significant progress has been made in  realizing some of the targets set in the new Broadband Plan. Most of the  challenges are being addressed. However, there is a critical need for  deliberate efforts by all stakeholders towards ensuring that the targets set in  this plan are realized.  

This stakeholders’ engagement is a good step in the right direction towards  achieving this as we strive to position our country to enjoy the benefits that  ubiquitous nationwide broadband will provide.  

I look forward to the insightful solutions which will be proffered at this  engagement and it is my hope that the support of stakeholders will  culminate into a speedy realization of our broadband target for Nigeria.  

On this note, I thank you for the invitation to this timely Conference. Thank  you for your kind attention and I wish you very successful deliberations.