By Oluwatobi Opusunju
Nigerian public sector service providers: Nigeria Communications Satellite Limited (NigComSat) and the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) plan to unload broadband connectivity to thousands of rural communities across the country to enhance economic activities and get the country to surpass its broadband penetration target of 30% for 2018.
Most of Nigeria’s current broadband penetration of 21% lies within urban centres particularly Lagos where the presence of undersea cable providers such as MainOne and Glo1 have helped to ensure access to limited numbers of subscribers as providers struggle with a mix of hindrances including getting right of way (RoW), high deployment fees and multiple taxes to make access pricey in Lagos and elsewhere.
But the new NigComSat/ NIPOST deal should release broadband connectivity to unserved areas at far lower rates and bereft of terrestrial challenges that licenced broadband providers and infrastructures companies (InfraCos) are forced to contend with.
“NIGCOMSAT Limited and the NIPOST have set in motion efforts to ensure that broadband penetration in the country is achieved through the deployment of NigComSat-1R services while using NIPOST infrastructure all over the country.
“This development came on the heels of a top management meeting held between the two agencies under the auspices of the Ministry of Communications at the corporate headquarters of NIPOST.
“Among the areas of collaboration is the Federal Government policy on broadband penetration, which is expected to propel the broadband access seamlessly through NIPOST infrastructure spread all over the country to ensure its success,” said Head of Media Relations Unit at NigComSat, Mr. Stephen Kwande in an official statement cited by NAN in Abuja.
Quoting the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of NigComSat, Ms Abimbola Alale, who led top NigComSat management to the meeting with NIPOST, Kwande said the new deal underlines the broadband penetration goal of the federal government which has NIPOST as a strategic partner since postal agency has facilities deeply in rural Nigeria that makes a broadband reach-out to the populace easier and effective.
The service is also expected to help NIPOST in the rollout of a number of services aimed at financial inclusion of un-served citizens in rural communities across the country.
NIPOST as part of its rebirth plans, had during the recent 2017 World Post Day, unveiled the Address Verification System (AVS),International Postal Service Track and Trace System, Mobile Electronic Stamp, and a new suite of financial inclusive services targeting Nigeria’s vast population in the rural areas – all of these would be driven by broadband services to kick-start a new of tech-driven activities for the once moribund company.
NAN is News Agency of Nigeria