As it stands today, the available bandwidth in Nigeria is potentially infinite. In fact, it is safer to say that Nigeria is swimming in an ocean of bandwidth with the avalanche of undersea cable systems, each with landing points on the shores of the country.
However, according to NigerianCommunications Week, many Nigerians are still without a drop of the roaringocean; they still have to contend with unreliable, slow and very expensiveinternet services.
This is a typical case of starvingin the midst of plenty. Those that do not have broadband access wonder why somuch emphasis is placed on availability and why Internet access is soimportant.
The white noise about broadbandinternet began with the ambitious projects launched by Main One and Glo 1; Twohome grown companies driven by patriotism to make internet truly ubiquities andaffordable.
Elsewhere, the West African CableSystem (WACS), an initiative operated by nine countries (including Nigeria'sMTN Group) joined the fray.
Before the flood of undersea cablesystems, the only cable system serving Nigeria's internet and data needs wasthe SAT-3/WASC or South Atlantic 3/West Africa Submarine Cable.
There is also the ACE submarinecable system covering Nigeria and other countries. ACE submarine cablesystem is also among these, a carrier that covers Nigeria and othercountries. Even with the arrival of some ofthese cable systems, most Nigerians are still without access to cheaperinternet services because the absence of "so-called" last mile infrastructure,which can distribute the bandwidth.
Last mile infrastructure is thattransmission infrastructure telecommunications operators use to deliverservices to potential subscribers at their domains.
Basically, infrastructure requiredin this regard includes optic fiber and microwave.
Apart from the absence of last mileinfrastructure, the obstacles confronting broadband penetration in Nigeria arelegion.
They include, lack of policyframework for broadband infrastructure development; Nigeria's notoriouslyunreliable power supply; claim of right of ways by local and state governments;and multiple regulation and taxation.
As a matter of fact, about 70 percent of the problems encountered by the telecom sector with its broadimplications for development of broadband infrastructure are public powersupply related.
The recent activities and threat ofthe Boko Haram, the Islamist fundamentalist sect in the northern parts of thecountry has also conspired to limit investments in some places in the region.
Broadband is the next big thing andNigeria cannot afford to lag behind.
Nigeria needs to break through thepolicy and environmental barriers for broadband deeper penetration.
Broadband represents hugeopportunities for social and economic progress of Nigeria because itfacilitates the delivery of more effective healthcare, banking, bettereducation, smoother and more transparent governance, sustainable environment,more efficient transportation, national security, as well as, smarter and moreeconomical energy supplies.
The government should release thedigital dividend spectrum to deliver broadband services to rural areas andreduce the tax level faced by Nigerian mobile operators.