Forum Harps On Tech As Economic Driver …As NCC Reiterates Commitment To Last-Mile Broadband Connectivity

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring that the provision of broadband infrastructure across the country achieves last-mile connectivity.

The Commission’s Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, stated this at the 4th Quarter Seminar/Induction Ceremony of the Nigerian Information Technology Reporters’ Association (NITRA) held in Lagos at weekend.

With the theme: ‘Achieving Last-Mile Connectivity through Affordable Broadband’, Danbatta, who was represented by the Deputy Director/ Head, Special Intervention Projects, NCC, Dr. Henry Nkemadu, stated that Commission will ensure the provision of broadband infrastructure across the country to achieve last-mile connectivity.

According to him, “The communications sector is a catalyst that would provide the needed infrastructure that will enable other sectors of Business, Education, Health, Agriculture, Governance and Finance to thrive. The sector provides the infrastructure to enable other infrastructures in the different sectors of Business, Education, Health, Agriculture, Governance, Finance and so on.

He further noted that the importance of the sector has continued to enhance human capabilities such as healthy life, knowledge, creativity, collaboration, innovation, self-organization and participation in the social, economic and political life of the country as well as the impact on economic growth through productivity gains.

Danbatta explained that telecommunication acts as an enabler to drive socio-economic growth, developments, and modernization across all sectors of the economy.

He added that robust and reliable telecoms service lies on adequate broadband infrastructure which will provide the needed impetus to achieve last mile connectivity.

Fielding questions at the event, Mr. Nkemadu hinted that the regulatory agency has made plans for massive deployment of 5G infrastructure in the country.

In his words: “At the Stakeholders’ Consultative Forum on 5G Readiness and High Altitude Platform Station Technologies in Abuja recently, the NCC announced its plans for massive deployment of infrastructure for the new technology.”

Speaking further on the potentials of 5G technology, Mr. Nkemadu said it has the potential to be transformational for communities in Nigeria because of the set high requirements for 5G networks: fast, ubiquitously available services provided by infrastructure deployed across all regions.

“The 5G technology has significantly faster speeds and more reliable connections on smartphones and other devices.”

 

He commended the 15-member committee inaugurated by former president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to draw up the national broadband strategy for a work well done.

He further commended NCC for achieving the 30 percent broadband penetration target that was set from 2013 to 2018.

Also speaking at the event, NITRA Chairman, Mr. Emma Okonji, commended the NCC leadership for the passion for broadband development in the country, adding that it has further deepened broadband penetration and grew it to the 30.9 percent that we currently achieved.

On his part, Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, who was represented by Engr. Aremu Olajide, Technical Committee Chairman, ALTON, decried the hostile business environment in the country, noting that it’s the reason why CDMA companies died.

He, therefore, called on the media to help in sustaining the environment for the existing and prospective operators by ensuring accurate reportage of the sector.

He further appealed to the media to always research on some of the laws being implemented by the state governments and ask questions on areas of irregularities, citing the tax dispute between the Kogi state government and mobile network operators as an example.

Adebayo condemned the multiple taxations and other regulatory and environmental challenges telecom operators are being subjected to in the industry.

Also speaking at the event, Chairman, Zinox Group, Mr. Leo Stan Ekeh, who was represented by Head of Corporate Communications, Mr. Gideon Ayogu, said the future of Nigeria rests on technology.

He stressed on the need for the Federal Government to give more attention to technology and innovations, as these are what define the world today. “There is no better time than now for the country to support technological innovations because that is what the world is using to make significant relevance. If you check the leading five companies in the world today, you will discover that technology companies top the list.”

During his goodwill message, Managing Director of Rack Centre, Dr. Ayotunde Coker, proposed the massive deployment and utilization of cloud services, noting that cloud technology will transform Nigeria and Africa if we deploy it in sachet format.

He described Nigeria to be running what he called a sachet economy, where the citizens buy things in sachet form, stressing that deploying cloud in sachet format will ensure that it gets to the citizenry easy and faster.

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