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Telcos urge Nigeria's govt to improve broadband access

Telcos urge Nigeria's govt to improve broadband access.

Telecoms company Etisalat and West Africa's leading communications services company MainOne have advised the Nigerian government to focus on improving broadband access to achieve economic growth in the country.

Speaking at a broadband forum held in Abuja, Funke Opeke, Chief Executive Officer of MainOne, said the potential of broadband as an enabler for creating employment increasing Nigeria's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) cannot be over-emphasised.

Opeke said this was evident with the post rebasing of Nigeria's national GDP. According to her, the contribution of the ICT industry in Nigeria had risen from 5.6% to 8.69%.

She also referenced the contributions of ICT to the growth of the Services Industry, which showed a post rebased GDP percentage growth from 29.04% to 51.59%

"Nigeria needs to move up the value chain beyond dependence on natural resources, and into the labor-intensive service economies and implementation of the Nation's Broadband policy will enable this," Opeke said.

However, the Chief Executive of Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher believes mobile broadband is Nigeria's best route towards achieving its broadband coverage objectives.

According to him, fixed broadband is more expensive because of the associated high cost.

He said: "Mobile broadband is clearly Nigeria's best route towards achieving its broadband coverage objectives given the high cost associated with fixed broadband. The most valuable coverage spectrum is underutilised with the sub-optimal use of the 800MHz spectrum and the delays being experienced in the freeing up of the 700MHz spectrum. Clearly, Nigeria was unable to meet the June 17th 2015 deadline set by the ITU to migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting."

Willsher added that Nigeria's mobile broadband penetration stands at 10.1% while the average for peer countries in Africa is 30%.

"Peer countries have an average Smartphone penetration of 26% while Nigeria's Smartphone penetration averages 12%," he said.

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