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Nigerian economy can’t grow without strong, wider access to broadband—BDI boss

The Administrator of the Digital Bridge Institute (BDI), Dr Ike Adinde, has said there was no future for any economy in the world today without ICT.
In his welcome address at the 2018 annual International Telecommunications Union (ITU) regional capacity building workshop hosted by the Institute, he stressed that the more ICT skills available to youths in the country, the better for the economy.
He revealed that BDI has been driving its core mandate of bridging the wide gap between Nigerians and information and communications technology with innovative programmes and activities.
Arguing that one of the programmes include the ongoing ITU regional capacity building workshop for ICT staff in public and private entities, he expressed assurance that new ideas that will come from the training will go a long way in raising the bar of ICT services and knowledge economy.
Earlier in his keynote address, the Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Danbatta averred that in Nigeria today, about 40 million Nigerians are denied access to Internet.
NCC boss explained further that coverage gaps in over 200 communities across the country deprive more than 40 million people access to the Internet.
Though he disclosed that the regulatory agency was working on an intervention that would bridge the gap in the communities at the fastest time possible, he was however, silent on latest efforts of the Commission in resolving issues of Right of Way (RoW) for Infrastructure Companies (Infracos) so that they can deliver optic fibre cables which drives broadband.
Danbatta recalled that “Access is very important. Talking about access, I don’t know the experience in other parts of the world especially the Africa continent but here in Nigeria, we have 200 access gaps and we know where these gaps are.
“These access gaps deprive close to 40 million people access to the Internet. We need to look at what we can do to fast-track blocking these access gaps because unless and until we do so, many of our citizens will continue to live without access to the Internet, especially the right kind of Internet connectivity.”
However, NCC boss stressed that “We are trying to make sure we are not left out in benefiting from the various important features of the fourth industrial revolution. While we are doing this, we are taking cognisance of the elements of digital transformation system because we have to start somewhere.
“How do we generate that critical mass of the Information Communication Technology adoption and use so that by so doing increase Internet and broadband penetration?
“The NCC through the Digital Bridge Institute funds interventions aimed at providing training particularly to teachers in our tertiary institutions so that they can leverage the power of ICT to improve content delivery to be able to access all relevant materials from the Internet,” Danbatta noted.

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