Film Makers Tasks FG on Broadband, Local Content Devt

Chris Uwaje

Emma Okonji

Operators players in the nation’s entertainment space have called on the federal government to make available, ubiquitous bundled broadband internet service that will enhance local content development in the entertainment sector, necessary to diversify the Nigerian economy to create more jobs and wealth.

Speaking at the Nollywood Economic Outlook 2019 organised by the Nollywood Mandate Group (NMG), in Lagos recently, participants tasked the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to work closely with entertainment practitioners to boost local digital content through affordable broadband.

The chairman of the occasion, Dr. Chris Uwaje, former President of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), noted that Nollywood had done well for Nigeria, but needed to get to the next level as quickly as possible to overcome the challenges of content distribution.

According to the Uwaje, “It is time for Nollywood to leapfrog the distribution of its content using the rapidly emerging digital technology.”

Nollywood producer, Zeb Ejiro, called on the NCC to work out an interface with the movie industry to explore how bundled broadband could be made available to practitioners.

He urged government to establish a special product for the movie sector just like it has for the agriculture sector.

Ejiro, expressed dissatisfaction over the little efforts made by government to address the challenges of the entertainment industry, despite its many promises.

He therefore called for more political will by government that will change the narrative for the better
The Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said the commission’s proactive effort to achieve 30 per cent broadband penetration for the country in December last year, demonstrated its understanding of the power of broadband, and the zeal to make broadband available to all. He explained that the commission promoted several infrastructure models to boost broadband availability. He however noted that the submarine cables that have landed on the shores of the country, including the number of data centres in the country, were still largely under-utilised, which he said was a pointer to the fact that there is enough broadband capacity to go round, if well distributed.

NCC’s Lagos Zonal Controller, Henry Ojiokpota, who represented the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Communications Commission, declared that the commission was ready to work with Nollywood to explore options for mutually beneficial activities to grow the local content and productivity in general. He stated that with broadband, digital content could be distributed further, faster and more economically.

Also, the Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA), Dr. Ali Ibrahim Pantami, in his presentation, revealed that the agency set up the Office of Nigerian Content (ONC) precisely to promote local Nigerian content.

NIDTA is keen to boost local content through creating the enabling environment to encourage creativity and local content production, Pantami said.

Chioma Okee-Aguguo, who represented Pantami, remarked that away from oil and gas, the empowerment of youth with modern technology tools, was the way of the future.