from OKORO CHINEDU in Lagos, Nigeria
LAGOS, (CAJ News) – THE modest growth in broadband internet subscriptions has cast doubt on Nigeria reaching its ambitious broadband penetration target.
Nigeria, Africa’s largest country by population, has set a penetration target of 90 percent of its 215 million population and 70 percent of geographical landmass by 2025.
The West African nation has an area of 923 768 km² (356 669 square miles), the 14th biggest in the continent.
Data from the Nigerian Communications Commissions (NCC) shows a lukewarm pick-up in broadband internet subscriptions in December 2021.
This after declining steadily from the October 2020 peak, before a brief increase in August 2021.
The slight growth recorded in December is attributed to the NCC’s lifting of the prohibition on new card sales and activation after a temporary halt on sales to allow for the National Identification Number (NIN) and subscriber identity module (SIM) card integration exercise.
Total broadband connections increased by 2 percent monthly to approximately 78 million.
FBN Quest, the market watcher, noted broadband penetration has also increased slightly to circa 40,9 percent up from c.40 percent the previous month. Broadband penetration has clearly declined from its peak of 45,9 percent in October 2021.
Although total internet connections are 141,6 million, with a penetration rate of around 71 percent, FBN highlighted most of these connections are on low-speed internet networks.
“As a result, the significance of broadband internet cannot be overstated in terms of data speeds and applications, as well as its impact on economic growth,” it stated.
FBN Quest noted Nigeria’s broadband penetration lags that of South Africa, Egypt and Kenya, with penetration rates of approximately 113 percent, 74 percent and 48 percent respectively, based on data from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
World Bank data indicates fixed broadband connections in Nigeria was estimated at just over 65 000 in 2020. This compares with 1,3 million and 9,3 million for South Africa and Egypt respectively.
FBN Quest is thus doubtful of the Nigerian government meeting its targets.
“Given the modest pace of new connections, the broadband target seems daunting in our view.”
– CAJ News