The federal government is banking on the private sector to drive the expected $10 billion telecommunications investment that would ensure ubiquitous broadband penetration and access even in the rural and unserved areas in all parts of the country over the next five years.
Director, Policy, Competition and Economic Analysis at Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Ms. Josephine Amuwa, who disclosed this in an interview during the recently-concluded ITU Telecom World 2015 held in Budapest, Hungary, said NCC last year commissioned KPMG on how to attract the $10 billion for the national broadband project.
She said KPMG had recommended an annual investment of $2 billion over the next five years to build a national next-gen broadband network, which is good for the telecom industry, noting that Nigeria telecom is private sector-driven and government has taken out its hands from doing what private sector should do.
“What we only do as government and regulator is to continue providing and sustaining improved and friendly regulatory regime for their investment to offer them better Returns on Investment (ROI) and value to the final consumers. So, with the KPMG estimated investment said to be needed over the next five years, we don’t believe it is the government that is going to provide the money for any investment” she said.
Amuwa said it is the private sector players that will drive the investment. She explained that there was a need for existing operators to continue to invest in the market, especially to build better broadband infrastructure, saying “They cannot afford not to invest by folding their arms, otherwise, other new players will come in and invest in those areas and move ahead of them.”
According to her, broadband is the future, as there is hardly anything one seeks to do in today’s digital economy more efficiently and effectively that is not increasingly requiring access to the Internet. She said there is nothing you can do now without the Internet, as access and broadband is the infrastructure that enables high-speed Internet, video streaming and other heavy data.
Nigeria today has over 150 million voice telephony subscribers. The new phase is the broadband and that was one key message that we passed to the whole world here during Nigeria’s opening day at the ITU Telecom World 2015 which held last week in Copenhagen, Hungary.-Leadership