(Nigeria) THE Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta has explained that the exponential economic boost and new opportunities created by recent data explosion across the world were part of the reasons the commission made affordable broadband the focus of its 8-point agenda on ICT development.
Umaru Garba Danbatta, New NCC boss Umaru Garba Danbatta, New NCC boss According to him, both the global and local ICT market is growing exponentially and creating new and exciting opportunities and so, there is every need to make these opportunities real for all Nigerians.
“Nigeria’s economy is strengthening by the day and the world is taking note. So we need to bring these whole new opportunities down here, especially for the young people who are already shaping the future through innovation.”
“We believe that Nigeria has the potential to gain a global competitive edge in innovation, what we need is to work together to gain the extra momentum that is necessary and invaluable for the successful realization of our Vision as an industry,” Danbatta said.
He also revealed that the policy goals of the NCC recognized the immense socio-economic importance of ICTs to national development and therefore seek to ensure that the infrastructure necessary to provide ubiquitous broadband services is available and accessible to all citizens at affordable rates.
“Broadband still remains the next frontier in the ICT industry which will help in the speedy transformation of the Nigerian economy, and this formed the basis for our 8-point agenda” he declared.
Meanwhile, to realise the plan, Danbatta told stakeholders at the unveiling of his 8-Point Agenda in Kano, last week that the agenda would be achieved in line with the national broadband plan. He said that the role of NCC in the plan is to drive broadband infrastructure, first, in major cities across Nigeria and subsequently in areas that have not been served with communications services.
To ensure faster penetration across the country, Danbatta noted that there was also an ongoing plan by the commission to license five more Infrastructure Companies (InfaCos) to deploy broadband infrastructure to the rest of the country, following the successful licensing of MainOne Cable Company and IHS Communications as service providers for Lagos and North Central zones respectively.
Areas in the South, the South West, South East and South South zones are yet to be given license. Similarly, the North West and North East zones are yet to be licensed.
“But I can assure you that the process of licensing infrastructure companies to deploy broadband infrastructure in the remaining part of the country is in motion, waiting to finalized by the regulatory framework. I am confident that the NCC will soon take the next step. It will be kick-started with the advertisement for interested companies to submit their tender, for appraisal towards providing broadband infrastructure in the remaining zones of the country. That is how we intend to increase broadband penetration from 6.5 per cent to 10 per cent, through this infrastructure,” he explained.