The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, has said that the Commission will continue to promote and facilitate expansion of robust broadband/Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure across the country for the rapid development of the nation’s digital economy.
Danbatta gave the assurance in a presentation titled “Communication Technology for Service Delivery in Health, Education, Tourism, the Creative Industry and Agriculture” delivered during the first virtual and sixth edition of Information Communications Technology and Telecommunications Conference and Exhibition (ICTEL) EXPO 2020.
He said the Commission not only successfully achieved but surpassed the 30 per cent broadband penetration target in 2018, Danabatta observed that through various policy initiatives, broadband penetration has further increased to 42.02 per cent as of July, 2020, noting that this has laid a solid foundation to drive the national efforts at achieving the new 70 per cent broadband penetration target set in the Nigeria National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025.
Represented by the Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, NCC, Efosa Idehen, Danbatta said in line with this commitment, the Commission has commenced the review of the framework for engaging infrastructure companies to cascade fibre optic deployment to the hinterlands of Nigeria to ensure pervasive access to broadband services in the country.
He stated that with the support of the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, NCC is resolving the perennial problem of high cost of Right of Way (RoW) with the support of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) to hasten ICT infrastructure that will enable socio-economic activities across various sectors.
According to him, as the world is becoming increasingly digitised, 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, Danbatta said ICT is playing a very important role in the manner health services are now delivered, adding that the new Internet speed and low latency of 5G technology are expected to further enhance the possibilities of telemedicine and remote surgery.
Similarly, the EVC said the educational sector has also greatly soared on the wings of ICT, as there has been a surge in online learning in many institutions around the globe due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic, while illustrating the symbiotic relationship between ICT and educational sectors.
Danbatta said “the relationship between ICT and the educational sector has been mutually beneficial. He assured the stakeholders that the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is expected to enhance the capabilities of the educational sector even further.”
According to him, 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).