From a peak of 45.93 per cent in October 2020, broadband penetration in Nigeria slipped to 39.79 per cent in July this year. This came amidst the implementation of a National Broadband Plan where the country hopes to achieve 70 per cent penetration in the next four years. According to the latest industry data released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), subscriptions for highspeed internet in the country declined to 75.9 million from 76.2 million recorded in June. This showed that the network operators lost 336,657 broadband customers within the month.
An analysis of the NCC’s data showed that the country had been recording a consistent decrease in the number of broadband users since November 2020. According to the data, the service providers had lost a total of 11.7 million broadband subscribers between November 2020 and July 2021. In November 2020, broadband penetration had declined by 1.6 million, breaking 10 months of consistent monthly growth.
By De-cember, it went further down as the number of broadband subscriptions stood at 85.9 million, compared with 86 million in the preceding month, while the penetration level went down to 45.02 per cent from 45.07 per cent recorded in the preceding month. January 2021 saw the number of broadband users in the country declined by four million from 85.9 million in December to 81.9, which brought the penetration level to 42.93. In February, it went further down again to 79.9 million users and by March, it had reduced to 78.6 million.
In April, the subscriptions plunged further to 77.6 million as the operators lost another one million users. May saw the broadband database declined two million to 75.5 million. It, however, increased marginally in June to 76.2 million. Between January and October 2020, broadband connectivity in the country had increased by 15.5 million. On average, the country had been recording a one per cent increase each month, as the mobile network operators continued to push for deployment of 4G service across the country.
However, industry analysts are blaming the steep decline on the four-month suspension of SIM sales. According to them, many subscribers were unable to replace or swap their damaged or missing SIMs since the ban on SIM registration or activation, which took effect on December 9, 2020. With the lifting of the suspension on April 19, experts said the country would have to fast-track the implementation of the NBP 2020-2025 and remove obstacles to the fast deployment of infrastructure to recover the lost grounds.