5 August 2012

Nigeria: Stakeholders Endorse New Strategy On Broadband Penetration

A new strategy to be adopted by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Ministry of Communications Technology, telecommunications operators will see broadband speed increase five-fold by 2017 over the 2012 penetration rate according to industry stakeholders.

Mrs. Omobola Johnson, minister of communications technology said that a new national broadband strategy and roadmap is being worked on to address the issues in a sustainable manner. She said effective and independent regulation, equal/open access and infrastructure sharing delivered through complementary technologies such as fibre optic, wireless and satellite would be pursued.

Johnson said fibre to the (FTTx) model comprising point of presence, cabinet, building and home will be utilised to deploy broadband infrastructure while funding strategies will concentrate on long term and low cost funds, direct government intervention, public private partnership initiatives and foreign direct investment.

She said appropriate pricing and availability is critical in achieving universal access to Broadband, especially in rural areas adding that government will to set up presidential committee on Broadband deployment in Nigeria.

Chairman of the NCC, Engr. Peter Igoh said there is need to replicate the revolution in voice telephony experienced a decade ago in the provision of broadband. It was supported by Secretary General, International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Dr. Hammadoun Toure who called for the establishment of transparent and effective regulatory framework and policy for broadband development in Nigeria.

Executive Vice-Chairman/CEO of NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah proposed for adoption the equal access model which is similar to the model implemented in countries like Singapore and Australia. This model will facilitate the development of broadband in Nigeria.

At the end of the Nigerian Broadband forum in Lagos, stakeholders called on the government to facilitate access to low cost funding and financing of long term broadband deployment loan facility by the commercial banks, deployment of digital online services in at least 20 Government ministries by first quarter 2013 and to also issue new telecoms licenses.

They stated that new businesses, ubiquitous broadband solutions, rural broadband solutions and demand and competition issues should be encouraged and addressed.

They called for the creation of a venture capital fund for software entrepreneurs, asked NCC to provide subsidy through USPF for broadband deployment and penetration in Nigeria and build a business case with states and local governments to understand the need and importance for right of way for the provision of telecommunication services.

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