Nigeria’s Minister of Communication Technology, Omobola Johnson, has inaugurated a Broadband Council to drive the implementation of the recently-approved National Broadband Plan 2013-2018. Local newspaper This Day reports that the council comprises 19 members and is chaired by the communications minister. It will provide periodic reports on the progress of the broadband plan and facilitate the coordination and collaboration of the various stakeholders during its implementation to ensure that relevant agencies, institutions and the general public are actively engaged. Representatives of the Broadband Council include the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), the Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN), and Dr. Ernest Ndukwe and Jim Ovia, two former co-chairmen of the recently concluded Presidential Committee on Broadband, which worked on the formulation of the National Broadband Plan 2013-2018.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that the National Broadband Plan 2013-2018 was presented by Johnson in May 2013, before being approved by President Goodluck Jonathan the following month. The main aim of the five-year plan is to increase broadband penetration five-fold by the end of 2017. It outlines a number of ways in which the government aims to achieve this, including: promoting transparency of pricing and reduction of rollout costs by encouraging infrastructure sharing and interconnections and introducing price caps where necessary or when market forces fail; taking necessary regulatory measures to ensure better performance levels in the delivery of broadband services; facilitating rapid rollout of wireless and wireline infrastructure and providing incentives to encourage a national 3G wireless coverage level of at least 80% of the population by 2018; and the release of more spectrum for broadband services, especially for Long Term Evolution (LTE). It also aims to foster an attractive investment climate through targeted schemes for stimulating demand and providing targeted concessions, tax incentives, grants or support where needed.