Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have appealed to the government to come to the aid of their businesses.
Making the call, the Chief Executive Officer of VDT Communications Limited, Mr. David Omoniyi said the government needs to come to the aid of the ISPs who could be classified as Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the telecoms market.
“Indigenous ISPs are disappearing, more than 200 have been licensed so far by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), but only a few of them are operating. They are largely SMEs and need support to survive,” he said.
While emphasizing the role of the ISPs in the country’s quest for ubiquitous broadband, Omoniyi added that the implementation of the National Broadband Plan 2020-2025 requires the input of every stakeholder to succeed, hence the ISPs, which play significant roles in taking the services to the last mile must be supported.
“We need to carry everybody along and one way is to keep the ISPs alive. We need the majority of them around to keep employing people and to take the service closer to the people. There is a need for targeted intervention for them to survive,” he added.
He blamed the bigger operators, like MTN, Globacom, Airtel, and 9mobile for their woes as the operation of the mobile network operators in the retail data market with cheaper prices is said to be the bane of the ISP businesses.
Meanwhile the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has continued to issue licenses to new companies providing Internet Services, shooting the number of licensed service providers in the country to 225 as of Sept 2022 from 187.
This the Commission has been done to bridge the internet access gap in the country because most of the internet service-providing companies operate in urban areas while the rural areas in the country are without access to internet services.
According to data obtained from the commission, Internet Service Providers are concentrated in Abuja, Lagos, and Port Harcourt.
The rising number of ISPs is expected to boost the country’s broadband penetration target by 70% by 2025.
The license, which is acquired at a fee of N500,000, has a five-year tenure, after which the licensee can choose whether to renew or not. From the 38 licenses issued so far this year, the telecoms regulator has realised a total of N19 million.