The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) will carry on in its quest to expedite and strengthen the expansion of strong ICT and broadband infrastructure across the nation in order to bolster Nigeria’s digital economy development, Umar Danbatta, its Executive Vice Chairman said.
Danbatta made the pledge while presenting a paper titled “Communication Technology for Service Delivery on Health, Education, Tourism, the Creative Industry and Agriculture’ at the sixth edition of the Information Communications Technology and Telecommunications Conference and Exhibition EXPO 2020.
He said the commissions has exceeded the 30 per cent broadband penetration mark it set in 2018 and pointed out that as of July, 2020, broadband penetration has increased to 42.02 per cent through the commission’s alignment of proper policy initiatives that has laid a strong foundation upon which Nigeria can build in its effort to achieve a 70 per cent broadband penetration as stated in the National Broadband Plan 2020-2025.
Danbatta, represented by Efosa Idehen, NCC’s Director of Consumer Affairs Bureau, informed that the NCC has started the review framework for engaging infrastructure companies to further expedite the deployment of fibre optics to Nigeria’s hinterlands in order to drive better broadband access in the country.
With the support of the Federal Government through the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, the NCC is resolving the problematic issue of the Right of Way (RoW) cost, and that it is parleying with the Nigerian Governors Forum to fast-track the deployment of ICT infrastructure that will help enable both social and economic activities in various sectors of the economy, Danbatta said.
He said that ICT plays a pivotal role in service delivery in the health sector, noting that with improved internet speed as well as the faster response time of the 5G technology, telemedicine and remote surgery will be much improved.
In the same vein, he said that ICT has improved the educational sector exponentially, pointing at the surge in online learning at many institutions around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic as an illustration of the symbiotic relationship between the educational sector and ICT.
He 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.” Danbatta also spoke about the benefits of ICT to the agricultural sector as he cited examples of how many agro-based applications have helped stakeholders in the sector provide and improve on essential agro-services. He noted that these solutions have helped boost food production and food security.