Experts in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector have called on the federal government to create the right environment through appropriate policies to enhance Broadband deployment and availability in the country.
The experts who made the call at a Broadband Forum in Lagos last week said the presence of broadband would not only drive telecommunication growth in the area of voice and data but serve as a leverage in the success rate recorded so far in the nation’s ICT sector.
They maintained that broadband revolution was currently sweeping across the globe, adding that its availability in Nigeria would enable Nigerians have enough bandwidth for internet downloads and uploads, video conferencing, telemedicine and all forms of electronic transactions in government and outside government at a cheap cost.
Former Vice Chairman of Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Engineer Ernest Ndukwe noted that Nigeria has recorded landmark success in the area of ICT adding that the widespread deployment of broadband at this stage of Nigeria’s telecommunication development will boost connectivity at a faster rate.
Also speaking at the forum, the President of the Nigeria Internet Group (NIG), Engr. Lanre Ajayi maintained that the right environment for broadband deployment in the country would offer the greatest opportunity to Africans and Nigeria in particular, to commence documenting their experiences and sharing knowledge among themselves and with the global community.
He said “our movies, books, music, training materials, journals and more others can be digitalised to make it appear in storage friendly format before transmission on a broadband network.”
Ajayi who noted with dismay the wide divide that exists between Africa and the rest of the world stated that the future of broadband in Nigeria as the giant of Africa was bright if the right environment was created for investment in the area.
Ajayi listed the causes of broadband divide to include lack of effective Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) due to proliferation of VSAT terminals whose hubs are located outside the territories of the IXPs, lack of enthusiasm to roll out broadband services by the GSM operators as a result of fear that it may wipe out good returns on the voice services, monopoly of SAT3 Cable, lack of adequate national transmission backbone and availability of broadband divide.
On his part, the president of the Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwen stressed the need for Nigeria to leverage on broadband as economic booster of mass development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMES), job creation, wealth generation, sustainable economic growth and development, foreign exchange earning and national well being.
The president of the Association of Licenced Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo addressed the issue of last mile service in achieving broadband penetration in the country.
He therefore called on telecom operators to provide a strong link to consumers using coopper cables, Long Term Evolution (LTE), WIFI and WIMAX technologies saying, “when you look at the benefits of broadband on this area, operators have no choice but to embrace broadband connectivity”.