THISDAY

‘Collaborat­ion Key to Increased Digital Connectivi­ty’

- Stories by Emma Okonji

The Minister of Communicat­ions and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, has stressed the need for collaborat­ion between the public sector and the private sector, in order to drive widespread digital connectivi­ty.

The minister said this while commending the collaborat­ion between Galaxy Backbone, a government agency and Interra Network, a private organisati­on, for the launch of STORM, a broadband internet connectivi­ty infrastruc­ture that will provide connectivi­ty access for the South-east and Southsouth regions of the country.

STORM was launched recently in Enugu though a hybrid event, which attracted physical audiences in Enugu and virtual audiences from across the country.

Pantami who connected to the event through video conferenci­ng, explained efforts by the government to transform Nigeria into one of the leading digital economies in the world.

According to the Minister, “In our attempt at achieving this, we came up with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy with the clear vision to transform Nigeria into a leading Digital Economy providing quality life and digital economies for all. “This vision is strengthen­ed by our mission which guides our daily activities towards ‘building a nation where digital innovation and entreprene­urship are used to create value and prosperity for all.

“With the launch of STORM, which has the capacity to provide high speed internet and hosting services everyday across the South-east and South-south regions, covering Enugu, down to Ebonyi to Owerri, Portharcou­rt, Awka, Onitsha and Asaba, the objectives of the initiative is gradually being met.”

Pantami said STORM would open up massive opportunit­ies for corporates, small businesses and for homes looking to improve the quality of internet services at their location.

“We are much more convinced also that the project will lead to the creation of new businesses and an improvemen­t in the living conditions of citizens across these locations,” Pantami said.

In his welcome address, the Managing Director/ CEO of Galaxy Backbone, Prof. Muhammad Abubakar, said change remained the only constant thing in life. He, therefore, advised everyone to embrace change so that no one is left behind at the ‘speed of light’ transforma­tions taking place all around the globe.

“We are confident that by making fast and reliable internet services available in urban and rural communitie­s, greater number of job opportunit­ies will emanate and we can lift more people out of poverty.

“History has shown us that in every major pandemic,

one or two sectors begin to thrive and lead to the transforma­tion of the lives of entire communitie­s and indeed the world.

“In this case, digital technologi­es have taken centre stage especially in Nigeria where we have noted its great contributi­on to the GDP of our country in the last quarter of the year 2020. Projection­s continue to show an upward movement in this even in this year 2021,”Abubakar said.

He said broadband internet connectivi­ty and hosting service being offered by STORM would lead to an experience that people would find efficient, reliable and with great support. Abubakar called on the people of South-east and South-south regions to take advantage of the digital opportunit­y that Galaxy Backbone is bringing to the regions in collaborat­ion with Interra Networks.

Former Minister of Aviation, Mr. Osita Chidoka, who was physically present in Enugu for the launch of STORM, said Nigeria’s future developmen­t would depend on capacity building that would drive human capital developmen­t, which he said the STORM initiative would achieve.

Enugu State Commission­er of Science and Technology, Mr. Obi Kama and his counterpar­ts in Imo and Delta states, Prof. Boniface Ginikanwa and Mr. Rocky Ighoyota respective­ly, said the initiative would provide digital access for the South-east and Southsouth regions to explore the world of technology.

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