Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has insisted that it would achieve over 30 per cent broadband penetration in the country by 2018.
The Commission’s Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Tony Ojobo, said this during an interview with journalists in Abuja on Tuesday.
Rolling out statistics, He said, “Rwanda is leading the path in terms of ‘smart cities’. We are already on the path to this, because government policy for broad bandwidth envisages that by 2018 we should be having a broadband penetration of about 30per cent presently we are doing like 21per cent at the moment”.
“We expect that by 2018, we should be doing about or more than 30 per cent of broadband penetration. in relating ‘smart cities’ with broadband penetration, smart cities is about the industry, government, business communities, and educational institutions leveraging technology with the advancement of their course. Talking about e-education, e-health, e-medicine and so on”.
“We are also looking on how technology can make life easier for people living in the city and how can we leverage technology to make life easy for the man on the street, for instance; are there things I can sit in my house and do without haven to take transportation to go to the market? Can i sit in my house and do a lot of business transaction, Can i sit in my house and fill in my immigration form or i need a passport, can i stay in my house and complete the information while I sent it to the immigration and they give me a date to pick up my passport? Or what are the things people find it difficult to but with technology it now makes it easier,”He added.
“We are on the path and I believe that with this kind of programme is about sensitisation for the people to know that there is something and we need to begin to leverage technology to make life easier”.
Ojobo said, “I’ve heard the minister say from time to time that oil is becoming a dinosaur, but ICT is the next oil, we have statistics that are coming from the ICT industry”.”For example; FaceBook for instance is a technology brand that started 12 years ago today FaceBook is worth more than 350billion dollars, a 12year company, started by a 16 years old boy, we are talking about company own by a 32 year old man that have 350billion dollars as capitalisation” now our entire reserve in terms of how much we have as a nation, the last result shows that we have about 31billionn dollars as our external reserve (from oil).
“We need to shift our focus, by looking at the natural resources, our mental resources, as the way forward that will take out of the roots and put us together with technological advancement”.
On the role the commission is playing on infrastructure, He said in facilitating the way out, NCC has already licence some infrastructure, through the staff rollout services and five other infrastructure companies are going to be licences before the end of the year. ” The commission has also licence in the cause of auctioning the 2.6GHz spectrum licence and that frequency is a frequency that would facilitate broadband by services.
He posited that, “if we have pervasive broadband service, ‘smart cities’ will now leverage on infrastructures and we as the regulator we are creating an enabling environment facilitating competition in the industry”.” Ensuring that there is infrastructure that is provided so that services can leveraged under the infrastructure and then provide services to the last man. So what we are doing is one creating the enabling environment in terms of ensuring that the next person sources required and made available to the operators”.
Secondly, ensuring that there’s competition on the market. Now competition is what will deliver value to the consumer, when there is competition people can have choice, then the third thing is that the spectrum that is required for this is going to be auction before end of the year and also the infrastructure companies who would lay the fibre optic that will be required to network the city.
“Five of them are going to be licence before end of the year, what we really need is in the cities is having the fiber optic ring around the cities, so we don’t depend solely on the satellite. You also lay fiber and then that fiber the companies will now take services from the company that provided infrastructure and then sent down to the last man”.
“So you have a situation where you have infrastructural companies providing infrastructure, you have the operating companies taking services from infrastructural companies, and then providing services to the last man. and so with that you can see that,that is on the way, but of course is in working progress, we are not yet there, is going to take time but the important thing is that at least we have started and we are going to get there”.