Nigeria Receives $100 Million Loan from India to Boost Broadband Connectivity Across the Country


Universal internet coverage across Nigeria received a major boost as the federal government received a loan from the Indian government to develop its rural broadband connectivity. The investment of $100 million was arranged by EXIM Bank of India.

IOT Internet of Things concept as vector illustration

The plan which initially started in 2013, with the Presidential Committees 5 year strategy to scale-up the country’s broadband growth by 30%, has had many setbacks over the years.

The Federal Ministry of Communications, through immediate past minister Alhaji Adebayo Shittu in collaboration with India High Commission, made the $100 million loan deal possible. Mr Shittu while addressing the News Agency of Nigeria expressed the importance of the opportunity towards achieving his goal of 70 percent broadband penetration by 2021.

“Nigeria must be prepared to take advantage of the available opportunities, one of which is in securing of credit line for the development of rural backbone infrastructure.

“In India, as expansive as the country is, every area has sufficient broadband connectivity; everybody has access to online connectivity.

“This is the opposite in Nigeria. We have barely exceeded the 30 per cent connectivity rate.

“However, with this initiative, I believe within the next two months, we will have the opportunity of getting a credit line of 100 million dollars from India to develop rural infrastructure.

“Such that without electricity, telecoms masts can function, as masts to be constructed via the credit line funding will be renewable based – that is solar-based.’’

Alhaji Adebayo Shittu, immediate-past Minister of Communications

In addition to accelerating high internet speed, the credit facility will go towards the development of solar-based mobile telecommunication masts in rural areas where mass broadband access is in great demand. Mr Shittu explains extensively that solar based telecommunication was adopted to reduce some of the problems encountered during the expansion of broadband connectivity.

Telecommunication mast Credit: pixabay

“The current mast that the telecom operators use is very expensive to maintain. They rely on electricity, and we do not have electricity all around the country. So we have a situation where somebody who wants to build a mast of N40million would also have to acquire a 200KVA generator and fuel it.

“For this reason, we have redirected our effort at getting solar-based masts which will also have 50km radius so that if you have a land area of 100km, you will have two masts. It is cheap to maintain and all operators can depend on it, rather than having the rural operators to construct their own masts or lay their own cables.”

Alhaji Adebayo Shittu, immediate-past Minister of Communications

In 2017, the International Telecoms Union (ITU) ranked Nigeria 143 out of 176 countries that constituted their member countries on the ICT development index. However, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) reported that the current broadband subscription was registered as 63.2 million and actual broadband penetration increased to 33.13 percent. The figures show a snail pace movement in the expansion of internet broadband. But the current development, however, raises hope for faster broadband expansion.

Nigerian Tech and Engineering sectors may have been left out of the deal, as Mr Shittu surmised that Indian companies would be the installers of the equipment. Still, the proposed plan meets the country’s accelerating demand for broadband connectivity as no fewer than 1,000 sites could be ready within 12 months.

Analysis: Nigeria Now Has 98m Internet Subscribers and 9mobile is Highest Gainer
Analysis: Nigeria Now Has 98m Internet Subscribers

The growth of Nigeria’s broadband is critical for the economic growth of the country. As the ineffectiveness of Nigeria’s broadband has caused stunted growth in many indices and majorly in Nigeria’s digital and internet companies.

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