Broadband penetration grows, but with a population of over 200 million there is still a long way to go

Latest figures from the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) report that broadband subscriptions have reached 84,950,984 in July, giving a penetration rate of 44.5%. This represents a considerable rate of growth as broadband penetration was only 40.91% in February 2022 but is still a long from from the goal of achieving 70% penetration by 2025.

A statement on the NCC website described the latest figures as "hopeful for achieving the national broadband target" however this doesn’t account for Nigeria’s population growth which means broadband penetration has actually fallen from a peak of 45.07% in November 2020, whilst other factors impeding progress include substantial Right of Way levy’s that must be paid to state governments to approve the passing of broadband fibre cables through their areas and an ongoing problems with power outages, vandalism and theft.

Progress of late has been driven largely by the licensed Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) who since 2 015 have been rolling out broadband infrastructure in different regions across the country. Six InfraCos have been licensed: MainOne (Lagos), Zinox Technology Limited (South-East), Fleek Networks Limited (North-West), Brinks Integrated Solutions Limited (North-East), O’dua InfraCo Resources Limited (South-West) and Reana Consortium Limited (South-South). Collectively they hope to continue to deliver improvements that outstrip targets set in Nigeria’s National Broadband Plan.

Other companies are also contributing to connectivity progress in Nigeria, including MTN Nigeria Communications who connect 70 million Nigerias and have announced the launch of Home Broadband services which will be available to millions of Nigerian households, with approximately 50 percent located in rural areas.

At a more niche level, companies such as Tizeti who are solar-based internet and voice service provider, is set to expand its operations within Nigeria and Ghana. Tizeti currently have 2.8 million subscribers on their platform and are exploring an Initial Public Offer (IPO) to enable further growth. Tizeti founder and chief executive officer Mr. Kendall Ananyi stressed that the broadband gap in Africa is still very high and operators like them must expand to ensure that more Africans have access to reliable, affordable and truly unlimited internet.