Last week, Nigeria's Federal Executive Council approved ₦24.2 billion (~$53 million) for the provision of free internet at 75 public places in the country, including 20 airports, 43 tertiary institutions and 6 markets.
According to the country's minister of communications and digital economy, Isa Ali Pantami, the project will be executed within five months.
As of October 2022, the internet in Africa is 83% less affordable than in Oceania, the region with the most affordable internet. Such internet inequality, according to a report by Surfshark, combined with the increased inflation rates and political uncertainties, is taking Africans on a downward spiral of economic hardship.
Pantami says it will enable easy connectivity for passengers who are arriving at these airports. At tertiary institutions, the availability of these facilities will deepen the adoption of e-learning and other internet-reliant activities. With the shift to digital payments due to the cash crunch in the last quarter, access to free internet will enable transactions.
"The internet is also very slow in many African countries. Even if people can afford the internet, they still face limitations in what they can do. For instance, low internet speeds often make it very difficult to make video calls," Surfshark’s Lead Researcher Agneska Sablovskaja, says.
In Nigeria, internet users are also faced with data depletion—this occurs when subscribers exhaust their data bundle before the expiration date or when more data volume is utilised for accessing online content.
Recently, the Nigerian Communication Commission, (NCC) disclosed that it is introducing measures to curb data depletion for internet users in the country.