Broadband access in Nigeria still has a long way to go in terms of affordability and quality, according to Paradigm Initiative, a digital rights and digital inclusion organisation, in its June 2017 report. This is barely over one year to the termination of the National Broadband Plan in 2018.
While with mobile broadband penetration of approximately 21%, Nigeria appears to have hit its target of broadband penetration, a closer look at the fixed broadband rate which is 0.01% says otherwise. Rural areas are neglected as there is a concentration of telecom signals in highly populated urban areas. As expected in rural areas, broadband affordability and demand for broadband is a challenge
The quality of internet access despite the 21% mobile broadband penetration rate is also an issue. The Average Connection speed in Nigeria is put at 3.9 Mbps (compared to a global average of 7.2 Mbps), according to Akamai’s “State of the Internet” Q1 2017 report. This poor quality is due to the state of Network infrastructure in the country. The report shows that in the United States and the United Kingdom for instance, there is an average of 1 Telecommunications base station for 2,300 and 2,100 customers respectively. In Nigeria however, there are about 39,000 Telecommunications base stations for a population of over 180 million, an average of 1 for 4,600 consumers. Major hindrances to the outlay of fixed broadband infrastructure include multiple taxation and right of way requirements which have burdened ISPs
Paradigm Initiative identifies the urgent need to revise the National Broadband Plan for fixed broadband. According to the report, the best hope of delivering on Nigeria’s broadband plan is by ensuring that the spread of Nigeria’s 3G and relatively new 4G mobile networks which has largely helped broadband penetration to reach 21% is widened and the Quality of Service (QoS) improved
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