National broadband committee eyes fixed, mobile technologies
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.
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