150m Nigerians connected to the internet —Danbatta

Professor Umar Garba Danbatta

Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Communications Commission, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, has revealed that no fewer than 250 million Nigerians have access to Internet.

Over 80 million of this number, he said,  can access high speed internet, adding that the commission hopes to record more successes.

Professor Danbatta made the revelation at the opening ceremony of a two-day Talk To The Regulator (TTTR) forum in Yenegoa, Bayelsa State, which June 1 to June 2, 2023.

He explained that the telecom industry has witnessed milestone in more ways than one, including the rapid growth in technology, which is redefining service delivery and creating wide and high expectations from all stakeholders.

In keeping with it's mandate, the NCC, he said, creates opportunities to interact with it's licensees on industry issues and new trends via stakeholders’ fora with a view to gathering relevant information that would further advance the development of the industry, while improving regulations and service delivery to telecoms consumers.

To this end, and to keep up to date with the developments in the industry, Danbatta said the Commission has equally taken measures to improve regulations to accommodate the rapid and continuous developments.

Some of the interventions and responses by the Commission, he said, include facilitating the rollout of the 5G service provision; introduction of the Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) license to bridge the gap between unserved and underserved areas.

He also said the Commission is currently reviewing the scope of the structure of it's existing licensees to make them more robust and to accommodate some of the identified new industry trends.

"In line with the Nigeria National Broadband Plan (NNBP 2020 - 2025), the NCC is providing industry leadership to facilitate the achievement of 90% broadband penetration by year 2025 and will be above 50% at the end of 2023.

"Currently, over 150 million Nigerians have access to Internet, while over 80 million can access high speed internet", he revealed.

He said the Talk-To-The-Regulator Forum is a common platform for non-discriminatory innovation on a one-on-one basis, between the licensees and the regulator on several industry issues pertinent to the licensees and of national interest.

Speaking earlier, zonal controller, NCC, Portharcourt zonal office, Venny Eze, said the two day meeting was intended to provide a veritable platform for interaction between the regulator and the licensees and other stakeholders which would enable the Commission to identify challenges confronting the industry with a view to identify various challenges affecting their operations while making suggestions requiring regulatory interactions within the mandate of the NCC.

"There is no doubt the NCC values the views and contributions of it's stakeholders", Venny said.

Mohammed Babajika, NCC's Director of licencing and authorization department, assured that the Commission will take recommendations on board as it has been done in the past and will ensure that the ideas gleaned are implemented to impact the industry positively.

In his remark, Mr Adeleke Adewolu, Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management, commended the development in the communication sector saying, it has proven to be pivotal to the growth and development of the national economy.

He stated also that the sector has continually ensured that the digital economy agenda of the Federal Government is established on a solid foundation. "It has also proven to be the catalyst for entrenching the activities of both the public and private sector in the digital space, seemingly", he added.

He explains: "This was further underscored by the recent deployment of the fifth generation technology (5G) services in the country which we believe will ensure that Nigeria maximizes the benefits of the 4th industrial revolution whilst being sufficiently prepared for any attendant risk that may occur.

"A market study has shown that the deployment of 5G technology services will result in $13.2 trillion in global economic value chain. This, the Commission has played an effective role in placing the nation at a vantage position in order to reap these benefits", Mr Adeleke stressed.

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