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Tribune Online
FG unveils new 5-year national broadband plan


THE need to boost broadband penetration from its present coverage of 37.8 per cent to over 70 per cent in the next five years is the pedestal for the new National Broadband Plan NBP (2020-2025). This was disclosed by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami, during the inauguration of a 25-member committee to steer the plan in Abuja, last week.

Besides this, the Minister said, pervasive broadband penetration will certainly make Nigeria a truly digital economy.

He spoke during the inauguration ceremony of the Committee set up to steer the implementation of the broadband plan .

The new NBP 2020-2025 is sequel to the first NBP 2013 – 2018. The new NBP Committee has Ms. Funke Opeke, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Main One Cable Company Limited, as Chairperson with Dr. Bashir Gwandu as Co-Chairman, Mr Ubale Maska, the Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, Nigerian Communications Commissions as the Secretary to the Committee, he will be supported by four staff of the Ministry in the secretariat.

The Committee is to develop a new National Broadband Plan that will be the guiding template for the development of this very important area of telecommunications.

The Committee is to take a critical look at where the country is after painstaking review of the 2013-2018 phase and the status of penetration now. The members are enjoined to also examine the challenges with a view to proffering solutions. They should also look at the position of growing and emerging technologies among others.

The new NBP has the collaboration and support of the United Kingdom (UK) Government.

The inauguration of this new Committee is a follow up to the launch of the National Policy for Digital Economy and Strategy by President Muhammadu Buhari, in November 2019.

The Policy has eight pillars among which are Developmental Regulation, Digital Literacy and Skills, Solid Infrastructure, Service Infrastructure, Digital Services Development and Production, Digital Society Emerging Technologies and Indigenous Content Development.

The Minister told the Committee members to lay emphasis on the third pillar of the National Policy, which accommodates broadband and data centre, key components for economic growth, and promotion of digital economy.

The Committee’s work, he said, will address significantly one of the eight pillars and the remaining seven will also run as one of this all important pillar.

“The work of this Committee will go a very long way in supporting the national digital economic policy and strategy for the Federal Government because digital economy is strategically dominating the world economy today,” he stated.

According to Pantami, members of the Committee were selected based on their competence, integrity and professionalism.

Opeke, who responded on behalf of the 25-member Committee, thanked the Minister for the opportunity to serve and said the target of the committee is to achieve at least 65-70 per cent broadband penetration across Nigeria in the next five years, adding that the objective is technology neutrality for the right purpose.

“ The Minister has set the goal  and I am sure the NCC is in agreement,”  Opeke added, saying “ we will look at the work of the last Committee and what was done, the prospects, the challenges that are still there in order to come up with a plan to achieve the set objectives.”

“I believe the objective is achievable with sincerity of purpose and with hard work for these are critical services and infrastructure that we need to bring to all Nigerians and we’re optimistic that we can accomplish that goal. There is work to be done on fixed infrastructure but the reality is mobile technologies are also progressing quite fast to deliver very capable services to people.

“We see what is going on with 5G all over the world, so we will address both at the Committee but I believe our objective is not to favour one technology over another  but to figure out how we can get those critical services to many more Nigerians. So, we’ll be a mix of technologies but the objective is not to favour one technology over another or to be prescriptive but the right technology for the right purpose, the most competitive technology that enables us deliver services to all Nigerians,” Opeke said.

Earlier in his goodwill message, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta said Broadband Infrastructure remains one of the top priority of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to ensure people around the world have access to equitable and affordable broadband, wherever they are and whatever the circumstances they are in. With adequate broadband infrastructure in place, Danbatta assured that everything else will fall into place.

FG unveils new 5-year national broadband plan
Tribune Online

source https://tribuneonlineng.com/fg-unveils-new-5-year-national-broadband-plan/

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