The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says it will continue to promote and facilitate expansion of Nigeria’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure, for the rapid development of the country’s digital economy.
The Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said this at the first virtual and sixth edition of Information Communications Technology and Telecommunications Conference and Exhibition (ICTEL), EXPO 2020, in Abuja.
Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, NCC Director of Public Affairs, in a statement on Monday in Abuja, said that Danbatta made the pledge when he presented a paper at the event.
Danbatta, who was represented by Mr Efosa Idehen, NCC Director of Consumer Affairs, said that the NCC surpassed the 30-per-cent broadband penetration target in 2018.
He said that through various policy initiatives, broadband penetration had further increased to 42.02 per cent, as at July, 2020.
According to him, the feat has laid a solid foundation to drive national efforts to achieve the new 70 per cent broadband penetration target, set in the Nigeria National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025.
Danbatta said that the commission had commenced the review of the framework for engaging infrastructure companies to increase fibre optics deployment to the hinterland.
“This is to ensure pervasive access to broadband services across the country,” he said.
He said that with the Federal Government’s support, through the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, NCC was making efforts to resolve the perennial problem of high cost of Right of Way, also with the cooperation of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.
Danbatta said that this was to hasten the strengthening of the ICT infrastructure to boost socio-economic activities across various sectors.
“The world is becoming increasingly digitized; there will be no sector or facet of human life where ICT will not be required for optimal service delivery and improved conditions of living for the citizens.
“With regard to the health sector, ICT is playing a very important role in the manner in which health services are now delivered.
“The new Internet speed and the low latency of 5G technology are expected to further enhance the possibilities of telemedicine and remote surgery,” he said.
Danbatta said that the education sector had particularly received a remarkable boost through ICT applications, citing the surge in online learning around the world because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The relationship between ICT and the educational sector has been mutually beneficial,” he added.
Danbatta assured the stakeholders that the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) was expected to enhance the capabilities of the educational sector even further.
“The agricultural sector has also benefitted from ICT, as several agro-based apps have been designed, to ensure that stakeholders in the sector are able to provide and improve on essential agro-services.
“These developments have helped to boost food production and security, just as a lot of digitisation is also holding sway in the creative industry, enhancing its growth, thereby enabling job creation and greater contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” he said.