The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Garba Danbatta has reiterated the importance of broadband to national development, just as he urged Nigerians to support the national broadband policy of the federal government.
The policy seeks to grow broadband penetration from its present 10per cent penetration level, to 30per cent penetration level by 2018.
Danbatta, who spoke at the 12th Nigerian Telecom Lecture and Awards in Lagos recently, said ubiquitous availability of broadband, would not only improve access to broadband deployment, but would also create speedy development, through online transactions, supported by broadband.
According to the NCC boss, “Broadband is an enabler of other economic and human activities. The World Bank and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), have made recommendations about broadband that cannot be ignored by any progressive telecom regulator. The commission, while emphasising the importance of broadband for future economic development of every nation, cited to the World Bank research that indicates that, “for high-income countries, a 10-percentage-point rise in broadband penetration adds a 1.21-percentage point rise in economic growth – or an added 1.38 percentage points for low- and middle-income countries, and this is more than any other type of communication service.”
This is one of the reasons why broadband is on the top of the 8-Point Agenda of the Nigerian Communications Commission under my leadership. I believe that many African countries are giving serious thoughts and actions towards the provision of broadband to make it available, accessible and affordable for the citizens of the continent, and in the process, impact positively to their national economies, Danbatta said.
In Nigeria, our target is to boost broadband, because it enhances safety and security. Broadband has become a key priority in promoting online businesses, and we have great plans to utilise broadband in providing license for fibre infrastructure providers in the remaining five geopolitical zones of South West, South East, South South, North West, and North East, Danbatta said.
He explained that two companies were already licensed for North Central and Lagos, which is considered a zone on its own right as the commercial capital of this country with huge demands for telecom services.
We have successfully sold some slots of frequencies in the 2.6GHz Spectrum Band, and will continue to commit efforts towards efficient management of resources to achieve the various targets expanding the frontiers of broadband and improving the telecom sector.
Africa is still very promising for investments. Telecom investors have huge opportunities to explore the African continent, which still has huge potentials for returns on investment. The developed parts of the world are almost saturated with different types of telecom services. Therefore, Africa stands a chance to make desirable impact in the next few years if we get our plans right, Danbatta said.
He called on telecoms regulators in African countries to see broadband deployment as another opportunity that must be tapped into, for the benefit of the continent’s faster development.
He however said broadband was good reason for various agencies of government, and governments at all levels in Africa, to show greater understanding and support for to the quest by various regulators in Africa to improve the telecommunications environment.