Tech Experts Drum Support for Start-ups, Push for Broadband Penetration

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By Emma Okonji

Technology experts have thrown their weight behind start-ups in the country. They have equally called for improved broadband penetration that would enhance the operation of start-ups in the country.

MainOne’s CEO, Funke Opeke, who presented a keynote speech at the Startup South Conference, which held in Uyo, in Akwa Ibom State, with the theme: “Unlocking the Next 60 Million: Making Broadband Accessible and Affordable,” spoke at the event.

Others were Imo State Commissioner of Technology Development, Nze Meekam Mgbenwelu; Commissioner Science and Technology Akwa Ibom State, Dr Iniobong Essien, and Regional Manager, Bank of Industry, Sunkanmi Oriyomi, among others.

They all highlighted the importance of broadband and digital solutions to economic development, stressing the significance of why states across Nigeria should pay attention to enabling broadband in their regions. The dialogue centered on the notion that the development of the nation’s digital economy lies on extending affordable broadband and the encouragement of innovation hubs, skill development and job creation.

Opeke laid further emphasis to the dialogue by stating, “In this digital age where broadband connectivity is the bedrock of a thriving digital and national economy, we need to focus on increasing access to broadband penetration beyond Lagos and Abuja for our shared economic prosperity, job creation and digital security. We will need to take advantage of the opportunities the digital economy provides if we are to create jobs for Nigerian Youth in the not-too distant future.”
Other speakers stressed the need for ubiquitous broadband access to boost development of startups, explaining that the best way to achieve ubiquitous broadband access is through broadband penetration across the country in the most affordable and accessible ways.

Broadband access has been an issue in the country, hence the cost of broadband in the country appears higher than other regions of the country. The experts blamed the situation of high cost of broadband bandwidth on lack of national backbone Infrastructure that will transmit broadband capacities from the shores of the country to the hinterlands, where demand for broadband services is equally on the high side.