NCC, Google collaborate to drive Nigeria’s digital transformation

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Google Global Services Nigeria have expressed determination to work together toward advancing the actualization of auspicious national targets for ubiquitous broadband access in furtherance of Nigeria’s digital transformation policy.

This aligns with and gives unambiguous expression to NCC’s strategic vision plan centering on strategic partnership and collaboration with necessary stakeholders in order to achieve regulatory objectives.

In a statement signed by Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director, Public Affairs, NCC, the two organisations made the commitment when a delegation from Google Global Services Nigeria paid a courtesy visit to the Commission’s Head Office in Abuja recently to deliberate on viable collaborative interventions to propel digital transformation across the country and Africa.

Receiving the Google delegation, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said the Commission’s expectations, initiatives, and vision towards increasing broadband penetration, quality of service, advancement of a digital economy and commitment to improving national security through technological advancement are at the front burner of its regulatory interventions.

Danbatta, represented by the Executive Commissar, Technical Services (ECTS), NCC and Engr., underscored the importance of this synergy between Google and the Commission. Ubale Maska said that the Commission hoped to make both parties’ efforts more successful by strengthening cooperation between NCC Nigeria and Google Nigeria, for a quantifiable impact.

The EVC expressed optimism that Google’s investment in the subsea cable, Equiano, which is expected to land in Nigeria by end of April 2022, will be more impactful in driving NCC’s ongoing implementation of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP), 2020-2025, aimed at increasing broadband penetration to 70 percent by 2025.“I am hopeful that Equiano will have additional landing points in the hinterlands through collaborative efforts with the licensed Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) to reduce retail data prices significantly and thereby complementing the Commission’s efforts at ensuring affordable Internet services are available to boost the Commission’s ongoing broadband policy drive,” he said.

Juliet Ehimuan (Director, Google West Africa), made earlier remarks praising the NCC for her consultative approach to formulating regulatory policies. She stated that it was evident that Google and the NCC share a common goal.

Ehimuan stated that internet service demand has increased, requiring more capacity and sustainable collaborations between all stakeholders in the public and private sector. She asserted that Google’s commitment of $1billion across five years in various interventions will support digital transformation in Nigeria and across Africa.Ehimuan stated that research has proven that Africa will have an additional 300 million Internet users and Nigeria will lead in that number, given its current statistics of over 141 million internet subscribers and broadband penetration of over 40.88 percent as at January 2022.

Google owns the Equiano cable system and is the 14th investment in a subsea submarine cable. Equiano links Portugal and South Africa. The cable runs along the West Coast of Africa with branching units. This allows for greater connectivity to African countries. By the end of April 2022, the first branch will arrive in Nigeria.

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