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Pervasive broadband penetration key to digital economy-Pantami

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The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, says pervasive broadband penetration will certainly make Nigeria a truly digital economy.

Pantami said this at the inauguration of a 25-member committee on National Broadband Plan during the week in Abuja.

The Committee, according to a statement by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is expected to develop a new National Broadband Plan that will be the guiding template for the development of the telecoms sector.

The Committee, it explained, is to do a painstaking review of the 2013-2018 phase and the status of penetration now. The members are also saddled with the responsibility of examining the challenges confronting the telecoms sector with a view to providing solutions.

The inauguration of the new Committee is a follow up to the launch of the National Policy for Digital Economy and Strategy by President Muhammadu Buhari, in November 2019.

The Policy has eight pillars among which are Developmental Regulation, Digital Literacy and Skills, Solid Infrastructure, Service Infrastructure, Digital Services Development and Production, Digital Society Emerging Technologies and Indigenous Content Development.

The Minister told the Committee members to lay emphasis on the third pillar of the National Policy which accommodates broadband and data centre, key components for economic growth, and promotion of the digital economy.

The Committee’s work, he explained, will address significantly one of the eight pillars and the remaining seven will also run as one of this all-important pillar.

“The work of this Committee will go a very long way in supporting the national digital economic policy and strategy for the Federal Government because the digital economy is strategically dominating the world economy today.” 

 According to Pantami, members of the Committee were selected based on their competence, integrity and professionalism. “In all these, Nigeria comes first.” 

Earlier, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta said Broadband Infrastructure remains one of the top priorities of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to ensure people around the world have access to equitable and affordable broadband, wherever they are and whatever the circumstances they are in.

He pledged the commitment of the Board and Management of NCC, especially in the area of driving the infrastructure that will ensure that a critical mass of ICT adoption in use will in time increase the level of broadband penetration in the country.

The 25-member Committee has the Chief Executive Officer of MainOne, Ms Funke Opeke, as its head and representatives from the academia, NCC, Galaxy Backbone, MTN, Google, Defence Space Administration, National Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Limited, Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), GSM Association, among others.

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