Vandalism, theft hinder Nigeria broadband ambitions


Fibre connectivity

from OKORO CHINEDU in Lagos, Nigeria
Nigeria Bureau
LAGOS, (CAJ News) – DAMAGE and theft of fibre cables have emerged as the main concern to telecom regulators and subsequently hindering Nigeria’s broadband targets.

An economist has raised worry at the trend amid increasing likelihood of the West African country penetration target of 70 percent and population coverage of 90 percent by 2025.

Tunde Abidoye, Equity Research Analyst at FBN Capital, noted the destruction of telecommunication facilities had interfered with the service delivery of Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) operators and impeded the expansion of telecom network infrastructure across Nigeria.

“In response, calls have been made by telecom operators for the federal government to criminalise the damage to telecommunication assets and impose harsh punishments on offenders,” Abidoye said.

He added, “With just eighteen months remaining in the five-year plan and the current slow progress of broadband growth, the NBP 2020–2025 plan appears unrealistic.”

The federal government seeks to address the significant penetration gap in the country through the implementation of the National Broadband Plan (NBP 2020-2025).

Due to the modest monthly rise in broadband connections, the nation’s broadband penetration rate stands at 43,5 percent as of March 2024.

To improve the nation’s low internet connectivity level, the administration of President Bola Tinubu recently announced plans to expand the existing infrastructure in the country by an additional 90 000 kilometers (km) of fibre optic cables.

The project, when completed, is expected to increase the country’s fibre optic cable from its current level of about 35,000 km to around 125 000 km.

“Furthermore, the significant expansion will place Nigeria as the third-largest terrestrial fiber optic backbone in Africa, behind South Africa and Egypt,” Abidoye noted.

– CAJ News

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