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FG targets five-fold increase in broadband penetration by 2017, says it’s as critical as electricity, transportation, water infrastructure
By Oladipupo Akinwunmi
July 27, 2012 16:51:59pm GMT
Omobola Johnson

WorldStage Newsonline—Nigeria’s Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson said the prevalent internet capacity and a national backbone that provides critical Information Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure to carry data traffic to all parts of the country is as critical as having electricity supply, transportation and water infrastructure in today’s globally connected and increasingly knowledge based world.

The Minister disclosed this at an event organized by Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) “Nigeria Broadband Forum” held at Eko hotel and Suites, Lagos on Thursday, saying all over the world broadband or universal access to broadband is becoming a significant indicator of development and competitiveness amongst nations.

Mrs. Johnson explained that broadband has the potential of enabling entire new industries and introducing significant efficiencies into education delivery, health care provision, energy management public safety, government citizen interaction and over organization and dissemination of knowledge.

She noted that in Nigeria, there is clear evidence of demand for broadband in many facets of the country’s economic and social lives, adding that there were broadband for education, health, business, entertainment and leisure. She noted that there were very few aspects of Nigerian lives that are not impacted or affected by the internet.

The minister spoke on the telecoms revolution in the country, saying the revolution that catapulted the nation from 400,000 subscribers to over 90 million in 10 years did not just happen overnight, saying there were three essential ingredients responsible for the success story which include, a clear government policy direction of liberation of the telecom sector, effective and independent regulation which in turn attracted the necessary investment in the sector.

On the government policy and direction for broadband, the minister said that government intention was to pursue, by the end of 2017, a five-fold increase in broadband penetration over the 2012 penetration rate.

She further explained that the objectives of the her ministry for broadband were in three fold- to accelerate the penetration of  reasonably priced broadband internet in the country, to foster broadband usage for national development and to ensure rapid development  of a broad and policy and support implementation framework.

She stated that as part of strategies to deliver on those objectives, the government would provide periodic review of the broadband penetration targets in order to determine further action for broadband expansion; promote both supply, and demand side policies that create incentives for broadband backbone and access network deployment; facilitate broadband development and employment, leveraging on existing universal service framework.

Others include  to provide special incentives to operators to encourage them to increase their investment in broadband rollout; promote e-Government and other e-services that would foster broadband usage; enhance the equitable distribution of the value and benefits of telecoms infrastructure in general and broadband in particular amongst economically active members of the Nigerian population and among others.

The minister observed that broadband would be delivered through an appropriate mix of fixed/fibre, wireless and satellite technology and the investments required to deliver this target will come from both the public sector through direct funding, subsidies and the private sectors through domestic and foreign direct investments and PPPs.

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