Nigerian consumers and other nationals within Nigeria with high-speed Internet (broadband subscription) soared by 118.24 per cent from 38.19 million in May 2017 to 83.37 million in May 2022.
This was a 23.66 percentage point increase in broadband penetration from 20.01 per cent in May 2017 to 43.67 per cent in the corresponding month of 2022, according to data from the Nigerian Communications Commission.
Within the time under review, mobile Internet subscribers increased by 63.58 per cent from 91.57 million to 149.78 million.
According to ‘The Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020 – 2025,’ broadband refers to high-speed Internet connection. It added that broadband penetration is measured by the number of broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants.
In the broadband plan policy document, the Minister Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, said, “Broadband supports the development of the digital economy and a focus on growing the National Digital Economy will also improve and diversify the nation’s traditional economy.
“This new broadband plan is designed to deliver data download speeds across Nigeria, a minimum of 25Mbps in urban areas, and 10Mbps in rural areas, with effective coverage available to at least 90 per cent of the population by 2025 at a price not more than N390 per 1GB of data (2% of median income or 1% of minimum wage).”
The plan itemized that the nation must have a broadband penetration of 50 per cent by 2023 and 70 per cent by 2025.
However, 31.6 million Nigerians live in areas without telecommunication coverage, according to the document and only 473 out of 774 local government areas in the nation have Internet access according to the National Development Plan 2021 – 2025.
The World Bank had recently said that a 10 per cent increase in mobile broadband penetration could lead to a minimum of 2.46 per cent growth in Gross Domestic Product in Nigeria. The bank further said the nation’s digital economy plan was being continually hampered by an underdeveloped fixed broadband infrastructure.
It said, “Nigeria has the potential to accelerate its digital transformation by leveraging its relatively strong mobile broadband infrastructure, expanding e-commerce markets, and growing digital financial services.
“However, Nigeria continues to face significant challenges which have hindered the country’s ability to reap the full benefits of the digital economy.
“One leading barrier is Nigeria’s underdeveloped fixed broadband infrastructure, which is attributable to high federal and state taxes and an insufficient wholesale regulatory regime.
“This weak infrastructure base creates a ripple effect across the economy, contributing to low levels of financial inclusion, and persistent geographic and gender gaps in access to and use of digital technologies.”