TELECOM-A4A1, NCC in broadband tariff counter claims

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has claimed that telecoms tariffs in Nigeria, both voice and data remain the lowest globally, the 2017 Affordability Report from the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), revealed that a basic broadband connection is most expensive in Africa of all the regions around the world.

A4AI, an internet lobby group says it compiled its data, using more recent pricing and income data.

NCC had recently through one of its officials, Mr. Reuben Muoka claimed that what Nigerians pay for telecoms services remain the lowest and most competitive across the world.

However, and in a sharp contrast, A4AI noted in its report that “While the Asia-Pacific region boasts the most affordable broadband – 1GB of data costs citizens, on average, 2.5% of monthly income – not one of the regions surveyed meets the “1 for 2″ target.

“Costs remain highest in Africa, with 1GB costing 9.3% of a citizen’s average income; however, Africa also experienced the most significant cost reductions of any region – an average drop of 3.2 percentage points across the continent drove most of the global improvement in affordability seen in this data,” reads an excerpt from a statement issued by A4AI.

A4AI first announced its “1 for 2” affordability threshold which requires for 1GB of mobile prepaid data to cost no more than 2% of average monthly income in its 2015-16 Affordability Report.

The organisation believes meeting this yardstick would enable all income groups to afford a basic broadband connection. The latest research shows some African countries have met the target.

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Arch. Sunday Echono, Permanent Secretary for Nigeria’s Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu endorsed the affordability target during a speech he delivered on behalf of the Minister during an A4AI-Nigeria Coalition meeting in January.

“Consequently, A4AI and the Ministry share the common goal to make the Internet universally affordable for all who want to use it. This goal is quantified in a measure of having 1 Gigabyte of bandwidth not costing more than 2% of a person’s monthly income,” said Echono.

The updated A4AI report shows that the cost of 1GB in Nigeria currently stands at 1.57% of income.

Ghana was second to Nigeria with its endorsement of the affordability target in April after an announcement by Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister of Communications for Ghana that the country would start working toward reducing internet costs.

This is yet to materialise as the latest data shows 1GB in that country costs 4.11% of average income. Egypt has the lowest cost for 1GB on the continent at 0.47% of income. A Gigabyte of data in Africa is most expensive in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mali among others.

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