The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) recently announced a significant reduction in the number of Nigerians without access to telecom services. According to Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Commission, the number has dropped from 37 million in 2013 to 27 million currently, marking a remarkable 27% decrease over the past decade.
Prof. Danbatta shared this encouraging news during a recent telecoms industry stakeholders forum held in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state. He attributed this progress to a substantial reduction in the access gap by the end of
NCC Analysis on Telecom Access Gap
Representing Prof. Danbatta at the forum, Usman Mamman, the NCC’s Head of Pre-Licensing, highlighted the significant strides made in closing the access gap. He noted that the industry has successfully reduced the number of access gap clusters from 207 in 2013 to just 97 by the end of 2022, effectively bridging 110 access gaps.
“We have worked tirelessly to bring telecom services to rural, unserved, and underserved areas of the country, benefiting a total of 37 million people based on the 2013 consultancy,” Mamman stated.
Access gaps refer to communities or areas throughout Nigeria that have been deprived of essential telecom services. The NCC has dedicated substantial efforts to rectifying this issue, resulting in a reduction of access gap clusters by more than half.
Furthermore, Prof. Danbatta announced additional progress in the telecom sector. Between 2013 and 2018, 124 new base transceiver stations were deployed, and from 2019 to 2022, an impressive 364 stations were added. As of the end of 2022, the total number of base transceiver stations deployed since the identification of access gaps stands at a remarkable 567.
While celebrating this significant milestone in reducing the access gap, Prof. Danbatta emphasized that the Commission remains committed to providing telecom services to the remaining 27 million Nigerians who still lack access.
To bridge the remaining 97 access gaps across the country and ensure widespread connectivity throughout Nigeria, the NCC has planned regulatory interventions. These interventions include the issuance of Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) licenses and the deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) networks, among other initiatives.
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