- ‘Nigeria’s Broadband Penetration Hinged on Mobile Broadband’
Paradigm Initiative, a leading outfit on digital rights and inclusion, has said that the widely publicised growth of broadband penetration is not a true reflection of the actual broadband penetration in the country, since the growth is mainly driven by mobile broadband, occasioned by the rising demand for smartphones across the country.
The Chief Executive of Paradigm Initiative, Mr. Gbenga Sesan, who made the remark in Lagos recently, stated that the federal government would need to step up efforts in making broadband access a priority among Nigerians. This he said could be achieved by making broadband available at reduced cost for all Nigerians.
According to Sesan, “With a reported broadband penetration of approximately 21 per cent, Nigeria seems to have met her National Broadband Plan target of reaching a fivefold increase in broadband penetration by the end of 2017, over the 2012 penetration rate of between 4-6 per cent.
“However, with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) putting fixed broadband penetration in Nigeria at 0.01 per cent, admittedly showed that the bulk of this broadband access has been through mobile broadband, which does not reflect the true broadband penetration level of a country.”
He noted that internet penetration in Nigeria is put at 47 per cent, according to the ITU, but according to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), there were just over 90 million active mobile internet subscriptions on GSM and CDMA networks as of April 2017.
Sesan explained that although Nigeria’s broadband plan envisaged that mobile broadband would be the most popular medium for the actualisation of the plan, perhaps it was overly optimistic in its plans for the rollout of Terrestrial wireless networks, Fibre, Cable, Digital Subscriber Lines and Satellite Networks, given Nigeria’s historic challenges with infrastructure development.
He argued: “So the fixed broadband penetration is 0.01 per cent and infrastructural and policy challenges has limited the effectiveness of Nigeria’s only real claim to a national broadband network – mainly 3G and lately 4G mobile broadband, resulting in service quality issues.”
Insisting that broadband access in Nigeria is not broad enough, and not qualitative enough, compared to what is obtainable in other countries, Sesan said government must put the necessary infrastructure in place and ensure adequate implementation of the country’s broadband policy in order to boost actual fixed and mobile broadband penetration in the country.
He described broadband as internet experience at speeds higher than obtainable in dial-up services.
According to him, all over the world, broadband internet delivers the high-speed communications, which drive the rapid transfer of data for applications in media, healthcare, government services, education, among others. Broadband is now widely accepted to be an enabler of economic growth and development, according to a World Bank report finding that a that a 10 per cent increase in broadband penetration yields an additional 1.38 per cent increase in GDP growth for low to middle-income countries.
Sesan opined that Nigeria’s broadband plan, coming shortly after a decade of the deployment of mobile telephony in Nigeria, was a strategic document designed to accelerate development in the telecommunications sector and bring the developmental impact of broadband internet access to all Nigerians. He said such document must be well implemented to achieve rapid broadband penetration across the country.
Oil Jumps to $67.70 as OPEC+ Extends Production Cuts
Oil Jumps to $67.70 as OPEC+ Extends Production Cuts
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, rose to $67.70 per barrel on Thursday following the decision of OPEC and allies, known as OPEC+, to extend production cuts.
OPEC and allies are presently debating whether to restore as much as 1.5 million barrels per day of crude oil in April, according to people with the knowledge of the meeting.
Experts have said OPEC+ continuous production cuts could increase global inflationary pressure with the rising price of could oil. However, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said “I don’t think it will overheat.”
Last year “we suffered alone, we as OPEC+” and now “it’s about being vigilant and being careful,” he said.
Saudi minister added that the additional 1 million barrel-a-day voluntary production cut the kingdom introduced in February was now open-ended. Meaning, OPEC+ will be withholding 7 million barrels a day or 7 percent of global demand from the market– even as fuel consumption recovers in many nations.
Experts have started predicting $75 a barrel by April.
“We expect oil prices to rise toward $70 to $75 a barrel during April,” said Ann-Louise Hittle, vice president of macro oils at consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. “The risk is these higher prices will dampen the tentative global recovery. But the Saudi energy minister is adamant OPEC+ must watch for concrete signs of a demand rise before he moves on production.”
Gold Hits Eight-Month Low as Global Optimism Grows Amid Rising Demand for Bitcoin
Gold Struggles Ahead of Economic Recovery as Bitcoin, New Gold, Surges
Global haven asset, gold, declined to the lowest in more than eight months on Tuesday as signs of global economic recovery became glaring with rising bond yields.
The price of the precious metal declined to $1,718 per ounce during London trading on Thursday, down from $2,072 it traded in August as more investors continue to cut down on their holdings of the metal.
The previous metal usually performs poorly with rising yields on other assets like bonds, especially given the fact that gold does not provide streams of interest payments. Investors have been jumping on US bonds ahead of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, expected to stoke stronger US price growth.
“We see the rising bond yields as a sign of economic optimism, which has also prompted gold investors to sell some of their positions,” said Carsten Menke of Julius Baer.
Another analyst from Commerzbank, Carsten Fritsch, said that “gold’s reputation appears to have been tarnished considerably by the heavy losses of recent weeks, as evidenced by the ongoing outflows from gold ETFs”.
Experts at Investors King believed the growing demand for Bitcoin, now called the new gold, and other cryptocurrencies in recent months by institutional investors is hurting gold attractiveness.
In a recent report, analysts at Citigroup have started projecting mainstream acceptance for the unregulated dominant cryptocurrency, Bitcoin.
The price of Bitcoin has rallied by 60 percent to $52,000 this year alone. While Ethereum has risen by over 660 percent in 2021.
Oil Prices Extend Gains to $64.32 Ahead of OPEC+ Meeting
Oil Prices Rise to $64.32 Amid Expected Output Extension
Oil prices extended gains during the early hours of Thursday trading session amid the possibility that OPEC+ producers might not increase output at a key meeting scheduled for later in the day and the drop in U.S refining.
Brent crude oil, against which Nigeria oil is priced, gained 0.4 percent or 27 cents to $64.32 per barrel as at 7:32 am Nigerian time on Thursday. While the U.S West Texas Intermediate gained 19 cents or 0.3 percent to $61.47 a barrel.
“Prices hinge on Russia’s and Saudi Arabia’s preference to add more crude oil production,” said Stephen Innes, global market strategist at Axi. “Perhaps more interesting is the lack of U.S. shale response to the higher crude oil prices, which is favourable for higher prices.”
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, together known as OPEC+, are looking to extend production cuts into April against expected output increase due to the fragile state of the global oil market.
Oil traders and businesses had been expecting the oil cartel to ease production by around 500,000 barrels per day since January 2021 but because of the coronavirus risk and rising global uncertainties, OPEC+ was forced to role-over production cuts until March. Experts now expect that this could be extended to April given the global situation.
“OPEC+ is currently meeting to discuss its current supply agreement. This raised the spectre of a rollover in supply cuts, which also buoyed the market,” ANZ said in a report.
Meanwhile, U.S crude oil inventories rose by more than a record 21 million barrels last week as refining plunged to a record-low amid Texas weather that knocked out power from homes.
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