Broadband group worried over 2018 policy target
• Facebook partners Tizeti to offer public Wi-Fi in Nigeria
Advocacy group, Broadband 2018 Coalition, has called on the Federal Government to accelerate implementation of the country’s five-year broadband plan developed and submitted by the presidential committee on broadband in 2013.
Convener of the coalition and technology expert, Danjuma Yusuf, noted that broadband played a huge role in transforming societies and offering economic opportunities, facilitating education and knowledge dissemination, enabling trade and commerce, and contributing to growing entrepreneurship across the world.
Worried about the slow rollout of broadband infrastructure across Nigeria, he called for the five-year National Broadband Plan (2013-2018) to be speedily and diligently implemented, to spur economic growth and help Nigeria prepare for a post-oil economy.
In a related development, Tizeti announced a partnership to expand Express Wi-Fi by Facebook in Nigeria, with plans to roll out hundreds of hotspots over the coming months.
Tizeti, a fast-growing wireless Internet service provider in Lagos, delivering high-speed unlimited Wi-Fi Internet access to residential and business customers, said the partnership with Facebook was to connect more people in the country to the Internet in a cost-efficient way. Tizeti made the announcement yesterday in Cape Town, South Africa, at the ongoing AfriaCom exhibition and conference.
The Guardian had reported that despite the about 90 million Internet users in the country, about 53 per cent of the World Bank’s estimated 170 million people in Nigeria, were still not on the Internet radar.
Yusuf reiterated the position of the Minister, Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations, Bolaji Akinremi, who had said that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) was key to Nigeria’s quest for sustainable development by 2030 when he delivered Nigeria’s statement on ‘ICT for Development’ at the UN General Assembly.
Yusuf also noted in a statement yesterday that Nigeria had declined on the broadband adoption and Internet use index: Affordability Drivers Index (ADI), ranking 13th (out of 58 countries surveyed) from the 12th place Nigeria earned in the 2015-16 Index in the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4aI) 2017 report.
Yusuf expressed concern at this decline, reiterating the fact that every 10 per cent increase in broadband growth in developing countries, resulted in a commensurate increase of 1.3 per cent in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
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