Dr Bashir Gwandu is an Executive Commissioner for Technical services at the NCC
Under a new strategy set to be adopted by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Federal Ministry of Communications Technology, the state is aiming to see broadband speeds increase five-fold by 2017, according to AllAfrica. Citing minister of communications technology Omobola Johnson, the report claims that a new national broadband strategy and roadmap is being developed, with Mrs Johnson stating that effective and independent regulation, equal and open access, and infrastructure sharing delivered through complementary technologies such as fibre-optics, wireless and satellite would be pursued. The minister meanwhile has noted that a fibre-to-the-x (FTTx) model will be utilised to deploy broadband infrastructure, while funding strategies will reportedly concentrate on long-term and low-cost funds, direct government intervention, public-private partnership initiatives and foreign direct investment. With pricing and availability noted as being critical to achieving universal broadband access, particularly in rural regions, the state is also expected to set up a presidential committee on broadband deployment. The state’s proposals are understood to have been supported by the secretary general of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Dr. Hammadoun Toure, who has called for the establishment of transparent and effective regulatory framework and policy for broadband development in Nigeria.
The report also notes that, following the Nigerian Broadband Forum held in Lagos at the end of last month, stakeholders have called on the government to: facilitate access to low cost funding and financing of a long-term broadband deployment loan facility by the commercial banks; deploy digital online services in at least 20 government ministries by first quarter 2013; and issue new telecoms licences.