Chief Olabintan Famutimi

The President of Nigerian American Chamber of Commerce (NACC), Chief Olabintan Famutimi, has said that five years after Nigeria through the Presidential Committee on Broadband developed a strategy to drive internet and broadband penetration and scale up the nation’s broadband growth by 30 per cent, the impact has still not been felt.

He disclosed this at a Breakfast Meeting on Aggressive Broadband Strategy and National Development organised by the Chamber in Lagos. According to him, the inaction is affecting Nigeria’s capacity to make progress on so many of the indices by which the nation’s economy and current diversification efforts are judged.

The gathering noted that the demand for broadband connectivity in Nigeria is accelerating far beyond the capacity of the current broadband networks, especially as video traffic and home-based businesses are becoming prevalent.

“Several studies predict that the future of internet growth for homes and businesses will need a minimum of 100 megabits per second of capacity within the next few years and will need greater capacity even going forward. While several countries are preparing for this future, unfortunately, our dear Nation is not even considering the huge population growth. For instance, Japan has already announced a national commitment to build fibre networks to every home and business.

“In 2013, Nigeria through the Presidential Committee on Broadband developed a five-year strategy to drive internet and broadband penetration and scale up the nation’s broadband growth by 30 percent. The vision behind the Nigerian broadband plan seeks to accelerate high speed internet and mass broadband access, and as a result prompt socio-economic growth for the nation and prosperity for its citizens in addition to removing barriers to expanding services to the mass market for deeper penetration and adoption.

On why the country is so far behind, the NAAC said: “The failure to keep pace is the direct result of our failure to adopt a national broadband policy. The country needs to take aggressive action to significantly expand our broadband connectivity. Now is not the time for incremental improvements; we are behind, and we must adopt a comprehensive strategy if we are to address the growing needs of our citizens.

“The country’s broadband crisis is a unique challenge. Unlike past threats to our future competitiveness, the solution to our broadband connectivity crisis is primarily local. The benefits of broadband connectivity are felt directly by every consumer and business, and final decisions must involve our local leaders under a comprehensive federal programme.”
At the event, the guest speaker, Ms. Funke Opeke, CEO, MainOne, did justice to the topic and proffered way forward to the broadband challenge and how the country can get it right.