Omobola Johnson, minister of communication technology launches broadband awareness campaign in Lagos as part of the ministry’s effort to address broadband challenges in Nigeria by 2018
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Mar. 3, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT
AS part of its efforts to address the broadband challenges in Nigeria by 2018, the ministry of communication technology has launched a broadband awareness campaign in Lagos. Omobola Johnson, minister of communication technology, said on Monday, February 17, during the launch tagged, “Connected Nigeria, Connected Nigerians,” that her ministry was committed to deepen broadband availability and affordability in the country. She said the project was achievable, particularly with the growing understanding among Nigerians on the efficacies of the services.
Johnson said the awareness was aimed at educating Nigerians and small scale business owners on the effectiveness of the internet and the opportunities inherent in broadband services. According to the minister, broadband services have proven that every 10 percent increase in broadband penetration in developing countries results in a commensurate increase of 1.3 percent in Gross Domestic Product, GDP. “The most credible statistics on broadband penetration estimates that Nigeria’s broadband penetration is between four percent and six percent, further underscoring the need for Nigeria to give strategic importance to the development of broadband infrastructure,” she said.
Johnson noted that the Nigeria National Broadband Policy, NNBP, recently drafted and presented to the Federal Executive Council emphasises, importance and centrality of broadband to achieving the overall objective of ICT as a tool for national development. In addition, efforts are on to deploy more comprehensive and integrated use of information and communications technology in government to provide better response to citizens’ demands, improve service delivery and make administration more efficient. “It is true that the industry has witnessed 25 to 30 percent consistent growth in the last three years the ministry was created, but we know that there are rooms for improvement. However, we cannot fold our hands as a country waiting for the time the infrastructures are in abundance before we start telling Nigerians that they can actually utilise the internet in creating jobs, grow their businesses and effect changes in their environments.”
According to her, efforts involving government’s unrelenting drives in reaching out to stakeholders to aid the operators in deploying critical infrastructures like the laying of fiber cables cannot be overemphasised. Johnson cited the recent agreement between the ministry and the Lagos State government to slash the prices of Right of Way to telecom operators in building critical infrastructures for broadband services as an achievement that could be replicated in other states.
“During discussions with industry leaders, the message became very clear that we need to assist the private sector in driving pervasive access to broadband. But then, the private sector must also deliver not just on basic reach and penetration, but also on quality of service. It is only in doing this that all Nigerians will truly feel the positive impact and benefit of broadband,” she said.