Op­er­a­tors, stake­hold­ers, reg­u­la­tors say af­ford­able broad­band for 100m Nige­ri­ans fea­si­ble

Business a.m. - - TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION - Busi­ness a.m.

IN OR­DER TO RE ALIGN Nige­ria’s strate­gic IT di­rec­tion and fur­ther pro­vide af­ford­able broad­band for the next 100 mil­lion Nige­ri­ans and as well re­po­si­tion the coun­try for global com­pet­i­tive­ness, reg­u­la­tors, op­er­a­tors and stake­hold­ers at the 13th Net­work Tech­nol­ogy Con­fer­ence and Work­shop ti­tled: Af­ford­able Broad­band For The Next 100 Mil­lion Nige­ri­ans, had iden­ti­fied the need to con­nect the next 100 mil­lion Nige­ri­ans for suc­cess­ful busi­ness op­er­a­tions and eco­nomic growth in Nige­ria.

The 24th NES Sum­mit, The Be­gin­ning of a Pros­per­ous Nige­ria In his key­note ad­dress, Con­nect­ing the next 100 Mil­lion: Re­align­ing Nige­ria’s Strate­gic IT Di­rec­tion, Sun­day Fo­layan, pres­i­dent, Nige­ria In­ter­net Reg­is­tra­tion As­so­ci­a­tion (NIRA), high­lighted some of the chal­lenges and ac­tion points, that will help us in the task of con­nect­ing the next 100 mil­lion Nige­ri­ans.

He said that con­nect­ing the next 100 mil­lion Nige­ri­ans will be made eas­ier by rec­og­niz­ing the im­por­tance of in­for­ma­tion com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy (ICT) in the na­tion’s so­cio-eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment by mak­ing ICT the cen­ter­piece of na­tional de­vel­op­ment through the steady pur­suit of poli­cies and pro­grammes that will re­po­si­tion Nige­ria as a strong player in the emerg­ing global dig­i­tal econ­omy.

Ac­cord­ing to him, we must carry out the task of re­build­ing Nige­ria’s econ­omy so that it will be less de­pen­dent on oil and more de­pen­dent on other sources of rev­enue, es­pe­cially in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy will re­quire con­certed ef­forts in leg­is­la­tion and poli­cies, ed­u­ca­tion and ca­pac­ity build­ing, open gover­nance and en­hanced ac­count­abil­ity.

Con­tin­u­ing, Fo­layan said that leg­is­la­tion and poli­cies should rec­og­nize in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy as a mat­ter of na­tional pri­or­ity and make it the bedrock of na­tional de­vel­op­ment by putting in place poli­cies that will use ICT to drive So­cio-eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

“En­act­ment of ap­pro­pri­ate leg­is­la­tions to give ef­fect to the var­i­ous ICT thrusts of the Govern­ment such as Manda­tory con­tin­u­ing ed­u­ca­tion, the Na­tional Soft­ware Strate­gic Pol­icy, Na­tional Broad­band Pol­icy or plan, Fi­nan­cial Tech­nol­ogy Ser­vices etc. Re­view ex­ist­ing but im­por­tant leg­is­la­tions such as the Cy­ber­crime Act and des­ig­nate an ex­ec­u­tive agency for greater ef­fec­tive­ness. Stream­line ex­ist­ing ICT reg­u­la­tions and Govern­ment over­sight for bet­ter ser­vice de­liv­ery to all sec­tors and in­dus­try play­ers.”

He fur­ther said that there is need to re­view the ICT Cur­ricu­lum in the var­i­ous ed­u­ca­tional es­tab­lish­ments and lev­els to re­flect the re­al­i­ties of the cur­rent age; em­bark on a mas­sive man­power de­vel­op­ment drive to har­ness the en­er­gies and ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the Nige­rian youth and cre­ate mass IT lit­er­acy pro­grammes at all lev­els to take ed­u­ca­tion to ev­ery Nige­rian etc.

In ad­di­tion, Ade­wole Ajao, pres­i­dent, In­ter­net So­ci­ety Nige­ria Trans­fer and op­er­a­tions man­ager, Band­width Con­sor­tium, said that get­ting af­ford­able broad­band In­ter­net ac­cess to 100m Nige­ri­ans is very fea­si­ble and achiev­able in Nige­ria, but is some­thing that has to be done with mind­set of peo­ple who are com­mit­ted be­cause in places where you have mil­lions of peo­ple con­nected, it didn’t hap­pen by ac­ci­dent.

Some peo­ple de­cided that we need in­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity and we should take steps. So that is the essence of this con­fer­ence and work­shop, the Nige­rian Net­work Op­er­a­tors Group (ngNOG) to dis­cuss on af­ford­able broad­band for the next 100 mil­lion Nige­ri­ans in­clud­ing the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties, Univer­sity in­sti­tu­tions, all and sundry so that Nige­ria can be like other coun­tries where it’s work­ing ef­fec­tively.

Over the last 12 years we have build­ing tech­ni­cal ca­pac­ity to man­age net­work within the cam­puses and other smaller net­work op­er­a­tors.

This year we de­cided to bring a larger com­mer­cial net­work op­er­a­tors into the pic­ture and share the things we learn from peo­ple build­ing net­work all over the world so that Nige­rian op­er­a­tors can start adding new things in place,” Ajao said.

He said, “one of the things we are dis­cussing here is how to start shar­ing in­ter­con­nec­tion, in a way that if you are net­work op­er­a­tor with 5m sub­scriber and an­other with 10m sub­scriber, it is easy for two of them to meet at a point to in­ter­con­nect rather than buy­ing up­stream in­ter­net from an in­ter­na­tional op­er­a­tor which drives up cost for users.”

Leg­is­la­tion and poli­cies should rec­og­nize in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy as a mat­ter of na­tional pri­or­ity and make it the bedrock of na­tional de­vel­op­ment

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