The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, on Thursday disclosed plans of the Federal Government to make the Internet cheaper and more affordable.
Pantami, who disclosed this at the 10th edition of the Nigerian Internet Governance Forum organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission held in Abuja, added that the government was working to ensure that the average price of broadband goes down to enable low income earners afford it.
The minister said the issues responsible for increased cost of production such as tax, RoW and the security of Information Communication and Technology infrastructures were being addressed.
He said, “There is a lot to be done in terms of broadband penetration because as it is today, in rural communities, only 10 per cent globally have access to fixed broadband infrastructure.
“Because of this, we are working to ensure that broadband infrastructure is accessible and affordable in the rural communities. It is for this reason that most of our policies are arranged to address the challenges that make the Internet expensive.
“Average price of broadband in 2019 was 1200 per linear but now has dropped by more than 50 per cent, it is around 500.
“To me this is not sufficient. We must continue to work to ensure the average price of broadband goes down so that low income earners can afford it.
“In addition, we have been addressing the issue that increases the cost of production. Before now, the charges for RoW was 6000 per linear meter. It has now dropped by more than 98 per cent; some states charge as low as 145.”
“Also, Mr President has directed the office of the Nigerian Security Adviser to give protection to all ICT infrastructures for free. This lowers the cost of production.
“We are also engaging with the ministry of finance, Governors Forum and the Federal Economic Council to address the issue of multiple taxation and we have recorded tremendous success.”
Also speaking, Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Umar Danbatta, said the forum provided a forum to express the commission’s commitment to promote the Internet as a tool for personal and national development.