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Don’t wait till existing broadband policy expires before formulating new one—Nduwke

Former executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and national coordinator of the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), Engineer Ernest Ndukwe has advised the federal government that it was not necessary to wait till the existing National Broadband Plan (NBP) policy would expire before a new one will be formulated.

It would be recalled that the existing plan, which targets 30 per cent broadband penetration by year end, is expected to elapse next two year, but industry experts are of the opinion that it needs to be reviewed to make it fall in line with demands of current realities.

Pundits view is driven by the fact that the country is nowhere near the target penetration percentage less than six months to the terminal date.

Nigeria’s current broadband policy, billed to expire by December, targets 30 per cent broadband penetration between 2013 and 2018.

However, in his remarks at the A4AI meeting in Abuja weekend, the Minister of Communications, Barr Adebayo Shittu revealed that “The Federal Government has set up a committee to review the nation’s broadband policy to come up with a new one that will help to realise the yearnings of Nigerians for efficient broadband services.

He noted that “Nigeria is still a very attractive market. The A4AI is committed to working with the government to address the broadband challenges of the country.”

“The Federal Government recognises the urgent need to increase access to, usage of Internet, and broadband in Nigeria.

“As part of its over-reaching national development plan, Vision 20: 2020, which outlines the Federal Government’s aim to make Nigeria a top 20 global economy by 2020, ICTs have been given a central role.

“In order to rationalise the work towards achieving Vision 20:2020, the government of Nigeria has developed the new ICT strategic road map 2017 – 2020.

“There are ICT-related strategies in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and the sector road map that require prioritisation by the ministry. Going forward, the ministry will pay adequate attention to them in order to focus on initiatives that will help to heighten the outcomes.”

The Minister disclosed the readiness of the ministry to work with coalitions such as the A4AI to ensure universal access to broadband so as to deepen economic diversification using the internet.