By Etuka Sunday
Conscious of the pivotal role pervasive broadband penetration will play in actualizing deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) devices ad Smart Services in any economy, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has developed a framework to facilitate the deployment of broadband infrastructure in the country.
The Executive Vice Chairman (ECV/CEO) of the NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, dropped the hint at the opening session of the First Digital Africa Week organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and hosted by the NCC in Abuja.
The Director, Public Affairs, Henry Nkemadu in a statement said, Professor Danbatta told the gathering of global Information and Communications Technology (ICT) experts, that the NCC framework for broadband infrastructure has led to the licensing of six infrastructure companies (INFRACOS) for North East, North West, South East, South West, South-South and Lagos.
The Process for licensing a seventhINFRACO for the North Central including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, has been concluded and the licence ready for award very soon.
The INFRACOS will deploy metro and intercity fibre and broadband point of access with a minimum capacity of 10 gigabits per second (10 Gbps) across the 774 Local Government Areas of Nigeria.
“With the development of Smart Cities Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) by the ITU, it is imperative to have a pervasive and ubiquitous broadband infrastructure across all our towns and cities to achieve the objectives of making them Smart,” Danbatta said.
Prof. Danbatta told the experts with excitement that “Nigeria has not only achieved but exceeded the 30% penetration target set by the National Broadband Plan (NBP) (2013 – 2018) and at the end of July 2019, our broadband penetration stood at 33.72%,” he further submitted, adding that the NCC will continue to work hard to ensure that all citizens of Nigeria have access to affordable broadband connection irrespective of location.
This assurance, according to Danbatta, is based “on the digital transformation agenda of the Federal Government anchored on Availability, Accessibility and Affordability of broadband.”
To actualize full expeditious action on the broadband penetration across the states of Nigeria, “we have put in place Broadband Implementation Committee (BIMC) to monitor full implementation of the INFRACO Projects within the four-year implementation plan,” the EVC declared.
According to him, “we have finalized negotiations on the Counterpart Funding to INFRACOS to support the deployment of the broadband infrastructures on which the Smart Services and other emerging technologies will be hosted,” the EVC said, adding that “this is in tandem with the 8-point agenda of the NCC and declaration of the present Administration for the provision of ubiquitous broadband infrastructures across the country in the Next Level document.”
Danbatta commended the ITU for giving NCC, on behalf of Nigeria the opportunity to host the 1st Digital African Week. This, he said, underscores the recognition of NCC as the regulator leading the digital transformation agenda of the Federal Government of Nigeria as a leading ICT player in the continent.
The 1st Digital African Week is running side by side with ITU-T Study Group 20 and Study Group 5 Regional Group, and Smart Sustainable Africa and Forum on Human Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs).
The Conference ends on Friday, August 30, 2019.