The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) remitted N463 billion into the Federal Government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) in the last five years.

Broadband penetration has also reached 44.30 per cent in readiness for the fifth Generation (5G) technology deployment.

Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta stated this when he led the management team of NCC on a visit to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. William Alo.

Danbatta, who briefed the Permanent Secretary on the status of the industry, following his appointment said NCC remained a major contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.

The NCC boss listed some key achievements under his leadership in the Commission as the recent successful auction of 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) spectrum for 5G services, licensing of seven fibre optics infrastructure providers, and adding up to 38,296 kilometres of fibre optic.

Danbatta, in a statement endorsed by the Director of Public Affairs of the NCC,  Reuben Muoka,  said some access gap clusters in the country have been reduced from 217 to 114 to enable 15 million Nigerians to have access to telecoms services.

He added that there was also an increase of fibre optics deployments from 47,000 kilometers to 54,725 kilometers.

Danbatta explained that the 3G and 4G Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) in the country have increased from less than 30,000 in 2015 to 53,460 while 7 VSAT gateway earth stations have been licensed to boost broadband penetration in the country.

He said the gross domestic product (GDP) contributions of the  industry had grown from 8.5 per cent in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2015 to 12.61 in the Q4 of 2021, while the telecoms sector also attracted over $2 billion in foreign direct investment over the period.

Danbatta also said as of June, this year, there are more than 84 million Internet subscriptions in the country.

He however noted that for the 5G technology to take shape seamlessly there must be massive investments in infrastructure across the country.

Danbatta made the remarks at the headquarters of the Commission in Abuja at the Public Inquiry organised by the NCC on five regulatory instruments for stakeholders in the telecoms industry.

Danbatta, who did not disclose the possibility of the roll out of 5G as planned for August 24, said five instruments are existing ones, but needed to be amended in tandem with the current reality of 5G deployment.

The instruments are type approved regulations, guidelines on short code operation in Nigeria and guidelines on technical specifications for the deployment of Communications infrastructures.

Others are the guidelines on advertisements and promotions and the consumers code of practice regulations.

The NCC boss maintained that one of the realities of 5G deployment was that Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have to invest heavily on infrastructures especially with the technology advancements being anticipated in the industry.

Danbatta said the industry has grown in leaps and bounds over the years, stating that it was made possible with the implementation of “the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020 – 2025, the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020 – 2030, its Strategic Management Plan (SMP) 2020-2024 and its Strategic Vision Implementation Plan (SVIP) 2021 – 2025”

He said: “This drive has culminated in the Broadband penetration in Nigeria increasing by 91.70 per cent in the last four years. The country’s broadband penetration increased from 21.21 per cent in April 2017 to 40.66 per cent in April 2021.

“The Commission’s data show that in April 2021, 77,605,500 million Nigerians were connected to the Internet, up from 40,481,570 million in April 2017.

“The current broadband penetration as at June 2022 stands at 44.30 per cent with more than eighty-four million internet subscriptions in the Country.

“While the Industry’s contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has risen from 9.81per cent in Q4 2018 to 12.61per cent in Q4 2021.

“These strides are outcomes of the Commission’s regulatory management of the Industry as well as its focused implementation of policies and strategies of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”