Conscious of the pivotal role pervasive broadband penetration will play in actualizing deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and smart services in any economy, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has developed a framework to facilitate the deployment of broadband infrastructure in the country.
The executive vice chairman (EVC) of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta dropped the hint at the opening session of the First Digital Africa Week organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and hosted by the NCC in Abuja.
He told the gathering of global Information and Communications Technology (ICT) experts, that the NCC framework for broadband infrastructure had led to the licensing of six infrastructure companies (Infracos) for North East, North West, South East, South West, South-South and Lagos.
The process for licensing a seventh infraco for the North Central including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, has been concluded and the licence ready for award very soon, he stated.
The infracos will deploy metro and intercity fibre and broadband point of access with a minimum capacity of 10 gigabits per second (10 Gbps) across the 774 local government areas of Nigeria.
"With the development of Smart Cities Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) by the ITU, it is imperative to have a pervasive and ubiquitous broadband infrastructure across all our towns and cities to achieve the objectives of making them Smart," he said.
Danbatta told the experts with excitement that "Nigeria has not only achieved but exceeded the 30 per cent penetration target set by the National Broadband Plan (NBP) (2013 - 2018) and at the end of July 2019, our broadband penetration stood at 33.72 per cent," he further submitted, adding the NCC would continue to work hard to ensure that all citizens of Nigeria have access to affordable broadband connection irrespective of location.
In his remarks, the director, technical standards and network integrity, NCC, Bako Wakil said the programme was to bring the African perspective to the standardisation of the new technologies to fit and support African nations.
He pointed out that African nations could also contribute to the standardization process of the ITU and also come up with proposals and ideas that best suit them.
A representative of Uganda, Helen Nakiguli, explained that the group was responsible for evaluating ICT effects on climate change and study design methodology for ICT environmental effects generally.
She noted that the interest was to engage the African region to be part of the standards development that would help the African region and the study group.
"This particular event is really critical for Africa to be part of the contribution to the development of standards that will help the region generally.
"Standardization of emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IOT), smart cities and communities, e-waste and circular economy and electromagnetic radiation are very important to the African continent," she said.