Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, the executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has stated the strategic activities of the Universal Service Provision Fund, USPF, were targeted at ensuring availability of service, accessibility of service, and affordability of service which are the constitutive hallmarks of universal access.
Prof. Danbatta made this statement in Calabar through Kelechi Nwankwo, USPF's Head of Strategy and Corporate Performance Monitoring, who represented him at the South-South Zonal Workshop on ICT Utilization and Sustainability organised by USPF.
He noted that the workshop was designed to enrich the experience of USPF implementing partners such as the Community Resource Centre managers and the desk officers of the School Knowledge Centre, as well as teachers, students and other stakeholders interested in deepening ICT penetration.
Meanwhile Opinion leaders including community leaders, government functionaries and the enthusiasts of the institutions of the civil society are also invited to key into faith in the alignment of rural ICT projects to the developmental goals and the real needs of the beneficiaries.
Danbatta told an enthusiastic assembly of over 250 youths, representatives of community-based organisations, journalists, government officials and development workers who gathered in Calabar for a two-day knowledge-sharing process designed to deliver concrete results on NCC/USPF determination to expand the frontiers of ICT penetration and usage among the citizens of Nigeria.
Ayuba Shuaibu, Secretary of USPF, represented at the workshop by Adejoke Atte, USPF's Principal Manager for Strategy and Corporate Performance Monitoring, added to Danbatta's voice when he declared that USPF mandate to promote availability of ICT services in rural, un-served and under-served areas will contribute measurably to Federal Government's Economic Recovery and Growth Plan's (ERGP) objectives on telecommunication and ICT.
According to him "These objectives are to: Develop sufficient, efficient, affordable and critical ICT infrastructure; as well as encourage rapid ICT penetration among all socio-economic levels and increase the current coverage of the active mobile broadband subscription per 100 from 20.95 to 50 percent by the Year 2020".
He also revealed to the workshop participants that the programmatic drivers of these objectives within the context of USPF mandate include the Accelerated Mobile Phone Expansion Programme (AMPEP), the Backbone Transmission Infrastructure (BTRAIN) project, the Rural Broadband Initiative (RUBI), the School Knowledge Centre (SKC), the Community Resource Centre (CRC), and the E-Library, E-Health, E-Accessibility, as well as the Universities Intercampus Connectivity (UNICC) projects among others.
Shuaibu said "the USPF strategic goals for 2013-2017 include the promotion of universal access and service that facilitate connectivity for development; facilitate an enabling environment for ICT; and institutional development.
"Thus, the Fund's vision of Equitable ICT Access for All will be given concrete expression by instituting processes that ensure universal access and service to ICT through market-based investment that stimulate development in rural, unserved and underserved communities.
"These are the underlying philosophies that birthed the zonal workshops.The second day of the workshop was devoted wholly to training on technological transfer tagged: BOOTCAMP, where participants will be exposed to Web Development, Android Development, and Anduino - Robotics and Artificial Intelligence - also called Machine Learning.
According to an official of the consultant to USPF on the zonal Workshop programme, Edition 56, Cyril Nyulaku PhD, he said, "the bootcamp is a concrete practical session of the application of ICT to enhance agriculture, health, education among others.
"The intention is that when the participants get back to their base they will apply the knowledge as practically as possible" .