Na­tional broad­band com­mit­tee eyes fixed, mo­bile tech­nolo­gies

The Punch - - INFORMATIO­N TECHNOLOGY - Ife Ogun­fuwa

Anew com­mit­tee sad­dled with the re­spon­si­bil­ity of for­mu­lat­ing a new na­tional broad­band plan is tar­get­ing the use of dif­fer­ent tech­nolo­gies to deepen broad­band pen­e­tra­tion.

The Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor/ CEO of Main­one Ca­ble Com­pany Lim­ited, Funke Opeke, who was named as the chair­per­son of the com­mit­tee, said the com­mit­tee would utilise a com­bi­na­tion of mo­bile and fixed tech­nol­ogy dur­ing the in­au­gu­ra­tion of the group in Abuja.

She said mem­bers were de­ter­mined to work hard to achieve be­tween 65 and 70 per cent broad­band pen­e­tra­tion across Nige­ria in the next five years.

The Chair­man of Com­mon­wealth In­ter­na­tional Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions

Union Group, Dr Bashir Gwandu, is the co-chair­man of the com­mit­tee while the Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mis­sioner, Tech­ni­cal Ser­vices, Nige­rian Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sions, Ubale Maska, was ap­pointed as the sec­re­tary to the com­mit­tee.

Opeke added that the ob­jec­tive was tech­nol­ogy neu­tral­ity for the right pur­pose.

Ac­cord­ing to her, the com­mit­tee will ex­am­ine the work of the past com­mit­tee in or­der to iden­tify chal­lenges and prospects.

“The min­is­ter has set the goal and I am sure the NCC is in agree­ment,” Opeke added, say­ing, “We will look at the work of the last com­mit­tee and what was done, the prospects, the chal­lenges that are still there in or­der to come up with a plan to achieve the set ob­jec­tives.”

‘‘I be­lieve the ob­jec­tive is achiev­able with sin­cer­ity of pur­pose and hard work, for these are crit­i­cal ser­vices and in­fra­struc­ture that we need to bring to all Nige­ri­ans and we’re op­ti­mistic that we can ac­com­plish that goal. There is work to be done on fixed in­fra­struc­ture but the re­al­ity is mo­bile tech­nolo­gies are also pro­gress­ing quite fast to de­liver very ca­pa­ble ser­vices to peo­ple.

‘‘We see what is go­ing on with 5G all over the world, so we will ad­dress both at the com­mit­tee. I be­lieve our ob­jec­tive is not to favour one tech­nol­ogy over another but to fig­ure out how we can get those crit­i­cal ser­vices to many more Nige­ri­ans. So, we’ll be a mix of tech­nolo­gies; the ob­jec­tive is not to favour one tech­nol­ogy over another or to be pre­scrip­tive but the right tech­nol­ogy for the right pur­pose, the most com­pet­i­tive tech­nol­ogy that en­ables us de­liver ser­vices to all Nige­ri­ans,’’ Opeke said.

The Na­tional Broad­band Plan 2013-2018 had set a tar­get of 30 per cent pen­e­tra­tion to be achieved by end of 2018.

And by De­cem­ber 2018, the Nige­rian Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion an­nounced that the coun­try had ex­ceeded the tar­get and at­tained 31 per cent pen­e­tra­tion.

The lat­est data from the NCC showed that as of Oc­to­ber 2019, the coun­try had at­tained 37.87 per cent broad­band pen­e­tra­tion.

The Min­is­ter of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Dig­i­tal Econ­omy, Dr Isa Pan­tami, in­au­gu­rated a 25-mem­ber com­mit­tee for the a new NBP 2020 to 2025, which would serve as a road map for de­vel­op­ment in the in­dus­try.

The new plan would be de­signed in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the United King­dom, the min­is­ter said.

Pan­tami per­va­sive pen­e­tra­tion

Nige­ria a stressed that broad­band would make truly dig­i­tal econ­omy, say­ing the new NBP 2020 to 2025 was a pre­cur­sor to the first NBP 2013 to 2018.

Patanmi charged the com­mit­tee to take a re­view the NBP for 2013 to 2018, the cur­rent sta­tus of pen­e­tra­tion, ex­am­ine the chal­lenges in the in­dus­try and prof­fer solutions to them, as well as as­sess the grow­ing and emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies, among oth­ers.

The min­is­ter charged the com­mit­tee mem­bers to lay em­pha­sis on the third pil­lar (solid in­fra­struc­ture) of the Na­tional Pol­icy for Dig­i­tal Econ­omy and Strat­egy un­veiled by the Pres­i­dent, Ma­jor Gen­eral Muham­madu Buhari (retd.), in Novem­ber 2019.

“The work of this com­mit­tee will go a very long way in sup­port­ing the na­tional dig­i­tal eco­nomic pol­icy and strat­egy for the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment be­cause dig­i­tal econ­omy is strate­gi­cally dom­i­nat­ing the world econ­omy to­day,” he added.

•L-R: Win­ner, Key­stone Bank’s ‘Growbiz Ac­count Save and Win’ promo, Ogochukwu Emenike; Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer, Hav­ila Re­sources, Okafor Vic­to­ria; Head, CSR and Sus­tain­abil­ity, Key­stone Bank Lim­ited, Izore Ba­mawo; another win­ner/ CEO, Dax Mega Con­cept, Unachukwu Nko­lika; Head, MSME and Value Chain Man­age­ment, Key­stone Bank Lim­ited, He­len Nwelle; and Pas­cal Ne­be­olisa of Na­tional Lottery Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion, dur­ing a raf­fle draw to select the win­ners in La­gos... on Fri­day. Photo: Key­stone Bank

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