- The Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy has launched the National Broadband Alliance for Nigeria (NBAN), a multi-stakeholder collaboration to promote nationwide broadband and Internet access while addressing fibre network challenges.
- The alliance will consider short-, medium-, and long-term goals as it collaborates with international organisations to execute its initiative in stages.
- In the first quarter of 2024, seven states will adopt the Alliance's initiative. However, eight states were listed for the initial pilot: Edo, Ogun, Kwara, Katsina, Imo, Abia, Borno, and Nasarawa.
Despite the 50% projection for national broadband penetration by the end of 2023, a report says it decreased from the 48% high it had in the year. Statista also shows that Internet user penetration increased from 38.73% in 2022 to 40.72% in 2023.
For the ministry, this new move would place the nation at the helm of the digital landscape and bring about digital inclusion.
Consequently, the selection criteria are based on the states' current broadband and fibre investment and management practices, such as waiving the Right of Way fee.
Telecommunication companies pay the state government a fee known as the Right of Way (RoW) fee to excavate upstate roads and install fibre optic cables.
The National Executive Council (NEC) resolved that the RoW would be lowered and capped to a fee of ₦140 per linear metre in 2013. While some states have waived the fee, others have only reduced it.
In January 2024, the Nasarawa state government removed the Right of Way fee, which went into effect on December 29, 2023. In December 2023, Katsina State also waived the fee for telcos to boost its ICT and Internet development.
In August 2023, the Anambra state government eliminated the Right of Way fee to promote digital adoption. Despite fee waivers and reductions, the cost of using the Internet in Nigeria continues to rise.
Moreover, the Alliance aims to eliminate obstacles to the rollout of broadband networks and boost internet adoption and usage.
Developing "sustainable business model(s) for driving the adoption and consumption of the internet in key critical public institutions (schools, hospitals, government offices, libraries, markets, etc.) across the nation" is what the alliance's stakeholders — public and private — will be tasked with, according to the Ministry.
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