Over 500 towns and cities in the country are now covered by third generation networks, the Nigerian Communications Commission has said.
The Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, said this on Wednesday at the Commonwealth Broadband Forum holding in Abuja.
Juwah, who was represented at the event by the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, NCC, Mr. Okechukwu Itanyi, said the increment in the 3G networks had come in the last five years, adding that as of 2010, 3G networks covered only 20 cities.
Third generation networks are renowned for more effective service delivery as they have higher capacity for data delivery.
Higher demand for data services has forced network operators to upgrade their networks from second generation to 3G services but most times, they approach the upgrade on city by city basis, giving priority to areas where they generate more income.
Juwah also said that in the last five years, intercity fibre laid in the country had risen from about 22,000 kilometres to over 30,000km, while Internet subscription within the period increased from 15 million to 83 million.
He said, “The catalytic role and contribution of broadband services to an economy is well documented. Some of these are its positive impact on education delivery, health care provision, energy management, security, and information dissemination.
“For Nigeria, the lack of a robust fixed network infrastructure and the need to rapidly develop the infrastructure to provide universal broadband services required a coordinated national approach.
“This led to the crafting of a National Broadband Plan covering the period 2013 to 2018. The policy and regulatory strategies for accelerated broadband infrastructure development was thus articulated, taking due cognizance of the unique conditions prevailing in the country.”
Juwah said in order to overcome the current gaps in Nigeria’s broadband infrastructure and effectively manage the challenges in its deployment and operations as well as enable the realisation of the national broadband target of 2018, adequate lessons learnt from the past and present would be leveraged upon.
This will ensure the delivery of an optimal broadband infrastructure framework and network; he said, adding that a network that was capable of providing the platform for the realisation of the set broadband penetration objectives of the country, taking the unique operating environment of Nigeria into consideration, was being implemented.