The minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Pantami, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Professor Umar Danbatta, and state governors will converge at the Policy Implementation Assisted Forum (PIAFo) to dissect issues around formulation and effective implementation of National Dig Once Policy to boost fibre deployment across the country.
Fibre is a critical element of backbone infrastructure for broadband and connectivity in pursuit of Nigeria’s digital economy. Interestingly, the policy has become inevitable to meet the targets set by the Federal Government in its National Broadband Plan (NBP) 2020-2025, wherein the country targets 40 per cent and 60 per cent fibre to towers by 2023 and 2025 respectively from a paltry 10 per cent in 2020.
The Plan further seeks to attain 90,000km and 120,000km of non-overlapping fibre infrastructure by 2023 and 2025 respectively from just 40,000km in 2020. Meanwhile, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) reported that as at the end of 2021, total fibre Optics so far deployed in Nigeria stood at 74,947km, including 47,128.7km on-land and 27,818.3km submarine.
However, by meeting the NBP targets through initiatives such as the Dig Once Policy, public institutions such as schools and hospitals and private enterprises in the country’s 774 local governments can be easily connected to broadband and enjoy internet speed of up to 25 megabyte per second in the urban and 10 megabyte per second in rural areas by 2025. Government intends to deliver this to 95 per cent of the local government areas through fibre, leveraging satellite technology for the remaining five per cent.
The summit, powered by Business Metrics Nigeria, is slated for October 18, 2022, in Lagos, with the theme: Laying the Foundation for Ubiquitous Broadband for Nigeria’s Economic Breakthrough.
According to the organisers of the forum which is now in its fourth edition, implementing a National Dig Once Policy will give Nigeria the right footing required to deliver last mile broadband infrastructure to every part of the country. The objective of a Dig Once Policy is to facilitate the provision of ready-made buried conduits across the country to allow seamless fibre deployment by reducing costs and removing unnecessary duplication.
“We believe these targets and the possibility of a smart city can only come to fruition through collaborative efforts among federal, state, local government authorities and private sector players. This is what the Dig Once Policy Intends to achieve,” says PIAFo Lead Executive and Editor of Business Metrics, Omobayo Azeez.
“We have dedicated this edition of the summit to dialogue around the Dig Once Policy to contribute to the formulation of the policy and ensure that those who have roles to play in implementing are carried along to create awareness and understanding as well as eliminate possibilities of revolt against the policy,” he added.
Azeez further stated that the event is endorsed by the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), and the Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) whose chiefs and members would also be participating in the event.