By Momentum Securities

Premium Times reports that the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Umar Danbatta, on Tuesday 3 July 2018 described the growth of the internet as enormous with the number of users reaching 103 million in May.

Mr Danbatta, who was represented by Haru Alhassan, the Director, New Media and Information Security of NCC, said this in Abuja at the Nigeria Internet Governance Forum (NIGF) 2018. The forum’s theme is: “Internet: An Enabler for Good Governance”. He said this was an impressive growth from 28 million internet users recorded in 2012. “This evolution shows the importance of harnessing the benefit of internet for good governance. This figure of the internet subscribers’ data highlights the importance and the value of internet,” he said

Mr Danbatta said the commission would also license three additional infrastructure companies (INFRACOs), bringing the number to seven to boost broadband penetration in the country. He said the three INFRACOs were awaiting approval as the commission had earlier licensed two infrastructure companies earlier in 2018 to lay the foundation for internet penetration and increased broadband services. The two INFRACOs are Zinox Technology Ltd. for Southeast Nigeria and Brinks Integrated Solutions Ltd. for the Northeast.

“The licenses are based on the NCC open licensed model which is in line with the National Broadband plan 2013 to 2018,” he said. Over a year ago, Mainone Cable Company had been licensed to provide services in Lagos, while HIS got its license to cover the North Central Geopolitical Zone including Abuja. “This event is very important in bringing various stakeholders to discuss issues of internet governance,” Mr Danbatta said.

The Vice Chancellor of Nasarawa State University Keffi, Muhammad Mainnima, said the theme of forum was apt and worthy of participation as Nigeria was approaching the 2019 general elections.

Mr Mainnima, represented by Grace Pennap, the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the university said Information Communication Technology (ICT) would have significant role to play in the elections. “While we agree that internet can promote good governance, it is important to think of how to make Nigeria cyberspace safe and secured. Therefore, it is my sincere hope that this year’s conference will add value positively to the narratives of good governance powered by the internet,” he said.

According to the data released by the NCC in December 2017, Airtel, MTN and Globacom gained more internet subscribers during the month in review while 9mobile was the big loser. The data breakdown revealed that MTN gained the most with 2,642,666 new internet users increasing its subscriptions in December to 36,069,597. It said Airtel gained the most with 911,040 new internet users in December taking its total to 23,985,203. Globacom gained 87,538 new users in December, taking its total to 26,997,817.

Social-commerce, such as with WeConnect Nigeria, is the next evolution in the dynamics between social networking and e-commerce, bringing a new twist to how people interact with friends and shop for products online and most of the time employing traditional media as a medium of platform engagement through TV Shows. Cost, scalability, power outages and education barriers are just some of the many challenges facing the mass roll out of internet on the continent, including Nigeria, so the growth seen in spite of these challenges is a positive result indeed.