How COVID-19 lockdown affected Internet usage in Nigeria?

The internet arrived in Nigeria in 1995. Since then the country has experienced a constant increase of internet users. The number of active internet users in 2019 was over 113 million. In March 2020, it rose to 135 million and experts predicted that by 2023, 9 out of 10 Nigerians will have internet access.

However, those predictions were made before the COVID-19 pandemic struck and can no longer be considered as accurate. It is now evident that the COVID-19 lockdown had a massive effect on internet usage numbers.

It forced almost all Nigerians to stay at home for extended periods. This meant that the only way they could get things such as supplies, information, education, entertainment, and even socializing with others was via online platforms. Needless to say, this also meant that internet usage numbers would skyrocket.

Increase in demand for online entertainment

Online entertainment service providers reported mind-boggling increases in traffic during the lockdown. In fact, Netflix had to cut the streaming quality on its service in Europe for 30 days in March and April to be able to continue streaming content to subscribers. The demand for the service was so great that if Netflix didn’t do that, their servers could have easily gone down. The same thing happened in Nigeria. People were at home for days and had to find a way to make the lockdown more bearable. The best example of the increase in demand for entertainment services in Nigeria is the unbelievable rise in popularity of online casinos and gambling sites. Nigerians have a long tradition when it comes to games of chance and the lockdown limited their access to these. However, it also opened new online casino horizons.

Online casinos have all the games that Nigerians know and love and thousands of others. The offer they have is so great, in fact, that lots of people are now visiting specialized casino reviewers such as this site to separate the gambling wheat from the chaff.

Increase in internet subscriptions

Another effect of the lockdown was the dramatic increase in new internet subscriptions in Nigeria. In March 2020, there were around 135.6 million internet users in Nigeria. This number increased to 140.7 million by the end of May. This means that there were almost 5 million new subscribers during the lockdown months of April and May and that’s quite extraordinary.

Localized traffic and boosted internet speeds

Not so long ago Nigerians had the problem of paying lots of money for internet services and still not getting satisfactory internet speeds. And while this is still a problem for lots of Nigerians, things are certainly moving in the right direction. Most of Nigeria’s internet traffic is now localized with 70% of all traffic coming from local exchange points. This is important because local exchanges mean faster internet speeds at a lower cost. To put things in perspective, in 2012, only 40% of Nigeria’s internet traffic came from local points. Just imagine the mutiny if Nigeria had to go through a lockdown with 2012 internet speeds.

Online transactions went through the roof

It was only logical that once everyone was forced to stay home, online commerce would start booming in Nigeria. Tech-savvy Nigerians were the first ones to make the transition to online purchases and they did this seamlessly. What is more, some of them saw the lockdown as an opportunity for a new source of income and started going into business ventures such as digital marketing. The transition was slightly more difficult for older Nigerians. They are usually the ones that fall victim to online fraud so navigating the e-commerce waters for them was more challenging.

Online education platforms have a bright future

One of the most pressing lockdown issues that governments around the world had to find a solution to was education. Schools were the first to close when the pandemic started and Nigerian politicians and educators had to think on their feet to find a quick fix to the problem.

They had limited time to test out distance learning solutions and online platforms, but coped with the task admirably. Most Nigerian educators adapted to using distance learning solutions very quickly. What is more, they saw the benefits of online learning platforms first-hand so will likely use them to complement their teaching when schools reopen too.

Source: benconews.com

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