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Broadband subscriptions dropped from 85.94 million recorded in December 2020 to 76.15 million in October 2021, indicating a 12.08 per cent or 9.79 million drop in the number of subscriptions.

Data from the Nigerian Communications Commission also showed that broadband subscriptions dropped from 85.94 million in December 2020 to 81.95 million in January 2021, with the penetration rate dropping from 45.02 per cent to 42.93 per cent. This shows a drop of 4.75 per cent or 3.99 million subscriptions.

The drop continued in February as the number fell by 1.67 million or 2.04 per cent to 80.28 million subscriptions at a penetration rate of 42.06 per cent.

It further dropped by 1.67 million or 2.08 per cent to 78.61 million subscriptions at a penetration rate of 41.18 per cent in March 2021.

By April 2021, it dropped by one million or 1.27 per cent to 77.61 million subscriptions at a penetration rate of 40.66 per cent.

The drop continued in May 2021, with a decrease by 2.04 million subscriptions or 2.63 per cent to 75.57 million subscriptions at a penetration rate of 39.59 per cent.

However, by June 2021, the figure increase by 0.72 million subscriptions or 0.95 per cent to 76.29 million subscriptions at a penetration rate of 39.97 per cent.

The decrease continued in July 2021, dropping by 0.34 million or 0.44 per cent to 75.95 million subscriptions at a penetration rate of 39.79 per cent.

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The second increase in 2021 occurred in August, with the broadband subscription increasing by 2.31 million or three per cent to 78.26 million subscriptions at a penetration rate of 41 per cent.

However, the decrease continued in September, with the broadband subscription dropping by 1.89 million or 2.44 per cent to 76.37 million subscriptions at a penetration rate of 40.01 per cent.

By October 2021, it dropped by 0.22 million or 0.29 per cent to 76.15 million subscriptions at a penetration rate of 39.89 per cent.

Within the period under review, broadband penetration dropped from 45.02 per cent to 39.89 per cent.

The steady decline has indicated a threat to the Federal Government’s plan to achieve 70 per cent broadband penetration by 2025, according to the National Broadband Plan 2020 – 2025, which was launched by the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Pantami, in March 2020.

The plan replaced the defunct 2013-2018 Broadband Plan.  Despite the new target, broadband penetration still lingers around the previous target of 30 per cent at the current rate of 39.89 per cent.

Speaking on the development, the President of the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria, Mr Ikechukwu Nnamani, said the continued drop might be due to vandalism of telecom infrastructure, insecurity, multiple taxation, the COVID-19 pandemic, government policy and power supply challenges.

He said, “While it may not be a cause for alarm as those numbers may swing in the positive direction in the coming months, some of the reasons this drop may have happened include cases of vandalism of telecom infrastructure, insecurity in some parts of the country that has not allowed for efficient service provision, among others.”

Copyright PUNCH.

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