The Federal Government will provide subsidy to telecommunications operators to enable them to roll out 20,000km of optic fibre cable in underserved areas of the country between 2014 and 2015.
The Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, said the government would provide N1.5bn (about $9m) for the support project.
According to her, the project will be funded from the Universal Access Provision Fund domiciled at the Nigerian Communications Commission.
She added that it would finance the broadband connectivity in 26 universities across the country.
The minister listed the benefits of broadband as improved learning, increased job creation, better community and civic engagement, improved trade and commerce, and a positive impact on Gross Domestic Product.
Looking at the achievements recorded with broadband in the ICT sector, she said the modest success had been with several initiatives that rode on the back of the digital mobile services boom in Nigeria.
However, the minister added that ineffective distribution and transmission of the available bandwidth inland had continued to make accelerated expansion of broadband Internet access at more affordable end-user price a major challenge and a barrier to faster realisation of the desired broadband boom in Nigeria.
She said, “The key objectives of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan are to promote pervasive broadband deployment; increase broadband adoption and usage; and ensure availability of broadband services at affordable prices.
“These are aimed at maximising the socio-political and economic benefits of broadband to the people.
“It is intended over the period of this plan to see more than a five-fold increase in Internet and broadband penetration figures. It is also intended that all state capitals and urban cities have metro fibre infrastructure installed.
“Certain estates and business districts within major cities shall have fibre to the home or premises, whereas, on a national scale, it is the intention of government to facilitate a full rollout by operating companies of 3G networks with the potential for immediate transition to 4G as spectrum becomes available.”
The minister added that broadband connectivity was a critical element in ensuring that information and communication technologies were used as effective delivery vehicles for health, education, governance, trade and commerce in order to achieve sustainable socio-economic growth.
SOURCE: PUNCH NEWS, NIGERIAfree vector