Place of broadband in solving Nigeria’s economic problem – Danbatta

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Prof. Umar Danbatta
Prof. Umar Danbatta

PROF. Umar Danbatta, executive vice-chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Thursday, June 4, 2020, reechoed the importance of broadband availability in Nigeria’s effort at building a sound digital economy saying that it will be used to address the country’s socio-economic challenges.

Speaking in a virtual meeting with the theme: Socio-Economic and Political Impact of COVID-19 on Telecom and ICT Sector in Nigeria, organized by the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Prof. Danbatta stated that broadband played a major role (and is still playing) in containing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Broadband is facilitating the provision of palliatives in this era of COVID-19. It is helping people work remotely, and it is helping in the online distance education programmes of educational institutions,” Danbatta said.

The EVC said in readiness for a post-COVID-19 Nigeria, the telecoms sector is poised to provide affordable, accessible and available broadband services to Nigerians, and reiterated NCC’s commitment to the actualization of this.

“Broadband will be used to streamline transportation. It can be leveraged on to better manage our environment. It will also be used to address our socio-economic challenges,” he said.

Prof. Danbatta noted that some of the exciting developments and unprecedented changes in the telecoms sector, such as the harmonization of the right-of-way charges in some states and the recent approval by President Buhari of telecom-facilities as Critical National Infrastructure, attest to the values attached to telecom services in the country.

While thanking the President Buhari-led administration for listening to the cries of telecom services providers by issuing a directive for the protection of telecom facilities as Critical National Infrastructure, the EVC said the stage is now set for the era of telecom services to thrive.

He said that the post-COVID-19 era calls for reevaluation and reassessment of the services being provided by telecom service providers as the demand for their services will be huge after the pandemic.

In response to some questions by Mr. Olusola Teniola, President of the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Prof. Danbatta admitted the congestion issues and inadequacies in the telecoms sector but commended telecom operators for the wonderful services they are rendering to Nigerians amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is now clear that with the congestion in the networks and inadequacies in the sector, there is an infrastructural deficit in the country. We, therefore, need to move fast, roll out fast and close the gap by providing infrastructure through the licensed InfraCos.

“We have done a lot in this regard. All is now set for the InfraCos to-roll-out services across the country. Soon the Honourable Minister will announce the kick-off of the projects.

“We are making a statement that finally, this country is ready to provide robust telecom services. We want to prove that we are a country that has deployed fibres without borders.

“This is the time for leveraging the redundancies in order to contain the challenges of network congestion. By network redundancies, I mean infrastructure redundancies,” Danbatta said. – Digital Times

– Jun. 4, 2020 @ 17:29 GMT |

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