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Federal Government Adopts Multi-Dimensional Style to Broadband Penetration.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says the Federal Government would adopt a multi-dimensional approach to an all-encompassing framework in its bid to realise an increased broadband penetration nationwide.
This way, the benefits of broadband access would be felt across the federation, according to the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah.
Juwah who spoke in Lagos at this year's celebration of the 2014 World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD), said the economic impact of broadband penetration has been found to be quite impressive. World Bank studies, he noted, show that in low and middle -income countries, every 10 percentage point increase in broadband penetration accelerate economic growth by 1.38 percentage points. Yet, this impact has been said to be even greater in high-income countries.
Notwithstanding the benefits that have been associated with broadband, in developing countries, Juwah urged all to understand that it is a medium to long term strategy, the major beneficiaries in the short-term of the broadband revolution being businesses of all categories.
"Because broadband networks need to generate traffic to lower their costs and increase their profitability, and in light of the fact that broadband is an ecosystem in which users play a central role, stimulating demand is also critical by having the required type of contents and services online."
The EVC assured Nigerian and foreign investors of the determination of the Commission to make Nigeria a favourable investment destination for broadband.
He however added that with the development of the telecommunication industry in Nigeria, few vertically integrated players now dominate the sector and have created infrastructure which are being leveraged on to compete in the provision of broadband services.
"These infrastructures are usually only available to new players in the broadband market at a premium as replication of the infrastructure is both capital intensive and has a long gestation period for delivery. This has led to unfavourable pricing of services in the market place which in-turn inhibits an increase in broadband penetration considering the per capita income of developing countries."
Hence, Juwah said the NCC has been embarking on regulatory interventions in the market to ensure equality of access to all players. These interventions, he said, focus on reduction of barriers to market entry by ensuring existing and new players in the broadband space have access to transmission infrastructure on a non-discriminatory basis, without a need to duplicate existing infrastructure by way of fiber backbones.
Also, he opined that the Commission would focus on frequency spectrum availability for service delivery; ensure proper business model and competition; while creating the environment for private sector participation and investment in the broadband ecosystem.
Others are: facilitate deployment with incentives to underserved and un-served areas, facilitate agreements and dispute resolution among stakeholders and adapt legal and regulatory framework to the realities of the digital economy (privacy, spam and security issues).
On her part, the Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, at another WTISD held in Abuja, said the Federal Government through the Ministry and NCC would continue to work hard to accelerate broadband coverage by formulating policies aimed at bridging the extant infrastructural deficit and driving increased broadband frontiers in the country.
The minister was optimistic that, having identified infrastructural deficit in the ongoing implementation of the National Broadband Plan, the government had come to terms with the imperatives of having a strategic policy to improve broadband, and by extension, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure across the country.
Johnson said broadband connectivity is a critical element in ensuring that ICT is used as effective delivery vehicle for health, education, governance, trade and commerce in order to achieve sustainable socio-economic growth.
She stated further, that the broadband vision for Nigeria was one of a society of connected communities with high speed Internet and broadband access that facilitate faster socio-economic advancement of the nation and its people.
"The transformative benefits of having broadband available to all are clear and include improved learning, increased job creation, better community and civic engagement, improved trade and commerce, and a positive impact on Gross Domestic Product (GDP)," she concluded.