The Nigerian Communications Commission has admitted that digital divide has remained a setback for rural entrepreneurs waiting for the deployment of the broadband across the 774 Local Government Areas
The CEO and EVC of the commission is admitting seven years after MainOne and IHS were in 2014 licensed to deploy infrastructure for Lagos area and North Central.
The second phase of license to Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) to deploy metropolitan fibre infrastructure within North East (Brinks Integrated Solutions Limited), North West (Fleek Networks Limited), South-South (Raeanna Nigeria Limited), South-West (Sammya Limited) in 2018 and South East zones (Zinox Technologies) in 2017.
Nigeria’s broadband penetration increased from 21.21 per cent in April 2017 to 40.66 per cent in April 2021.
But Danbatta while making a keynote presentation at the 2021 national conference, exhibition, and annual general meeting of the Nigerian Society of Engineers
the International Conference Centre Abuja, said that the Commission is waiting to see the Infracos demonstrate creditable level of deployment in the cities.
The NCC boss spoke on the theme “Expansion Of The Energy Mix For National Economic Growth”, with special focus on a sub-theme, “Strategic Collaboration between the Town and Gown for Effective Rural Development.”
He said they are yet to “discharge the burden of proof of the existence of access points in LGAs in the next five months.”
NCC said “To demonstrate NCC’s readiness to race at the same tempo with the Federal Government as articulated in the policy documents, Danbatta stated that the licensed companies, otherwise known as Infrastructure Companies (Infracos), have been directed to move to site to cascade broadband infrastructure to the hinterland.”
Danbatta said it will not renege in the deployment of broadband infrastructure that would ensure speed of up to 25 megabits per second in the rural areas.
“Each of the 774 Local Government Areas of Nigeria will have an initial access point of at least 10 megabits per second,” the CEO added.
Danbatta said that there is timeframe for the implementation of the projects, including the building of specialised technology centres in the rural areas to enable stakeholders to harness huge benefits of ICT.
He said there is an ongoing collaboration with stakeholders like the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ensure the target of 80 percent digital inclusion is achieved within the timeframe.
Danbatta listed other interventions to remedy the digital divide to include, construction of 250 kilometer of Backbone Transmission infrastructure (BTRAIN); 72 Rural Broadband Initiative (RUBI) projects; 1,334 School Knowledge Centres (SKCs); 192 Community Resource Centres (CRCs).