In support of Nigeria’s digital transformation program, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Google Global Services Nigeria have stated their commitment to collaborate in order to achieve the national targets for ubiquitous broadband connectivity.
This is in line with NCC’s strategic vision plan, which focuses on strategic partnerships and collaboration with key stakeholders in order to achieve regulatory goals.
When a delegation from Google Global Services Nigeria paid a courtesy visit to the Commission’s Abuja headquarters to discuss feasible joint solutions to accelerate digital transformation across Nigeria and Africa, the two organizations made the promise.
Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of the National Communications Commission, welcomed the Google delegation and stated that the commission’s expectations, initiatives, and vision for increasing broadband penetration, quality of service, advancement of a digital economy, and commitment to improving national security through technological advancement are at the forefront of its regulatory interventions.
Danbatta, who was represented by NCC Executive Commissioner, Technical Services (ECTS), Ubale Maska, emphasized the importance of such synergy between the commission and Google, saying the commission looked forward to making both parties’ initiatives more impactful by enhancing cooperation between the NCC and Google Nigeria for quantifiable and remarkable impact.
The EVC expressed confidence that Google’s investment in Equiano, a subsea cable that is expected to arrive in Nigeria by the end of April 2022, will have a greater impact on NCC’s ongoing implementation of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025, which aims to increase broadband penetration to 70% by 2025.
“I am optimistic that Equiano will have additional landing points in the hinterlands as a result of collaborative efforts with licensed Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) to significantly reduce retail data prices, complementing the commission’s efforts to ensure affordable Internet services are available to support the Commission’s ongoing broadband policy drive,” he said.
Juliet Ehimuan, the Director of Google West Africa, who led the delegation to the NCC, praised the NCC for its consultative approach in formulating regulatory policies, describing it as an engine room for optimal delivery of telecommunications services, which will impact the government’s digital economy drive.
She praised the commission in particular for conducting a smooth, fair, genuine, unbiased, and successful auction of the 3.5GHz spectrum for the deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) in Nigeria, noting that it is clear that the NCC and Google have the same goal.
Demands for Internet services, according to Ehimuan, have increased the need for more capacity and long-term engagement with all essential public and private sector parties. She said that Google’s investment of $1 billion over five years in a variety of initiatives will help Nigeria and Africa achieve digital transformation.
According to Ehimuan, data shows that Africa will gain 300 million new Internet users by 2022, with Nigeria leading the way with over 141 million internet members and a broadband penetration rate of over 40.8%.