Chima Akwaja, Leadership
March 12, 2013
The Presidential Committee on Broadband Road map inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan on September 20, 2012, to produce a broadband strategy and road map for the nation has completed its assignment and the document is awaiting the approval of the president according to minister of communications technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson.
After five months of deliberations, the road map with clear time bound phases will deliver a policy objective of 500 per cent increase in broadband penetration by 2015, thus bringing all the uncoordinated efforts of broadband infrastructure deployment under a national initiative.
"Approval of the document by the President is imminent and once approved, the industry can commence what it does best- building networks that extend to the population regardless of their geographical location," Johnson said at a broadband expansion expo held in Lagos.
The presidential committee on Broadband development road map co-chaired by two experienced ICT sector professionals, Mr Ernest Ndukwe, former vice chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission and Mr Jim Ovia, chairman of Visafone were supported by a team of 15 core members representing various ICT stakeholder groups, and an additional set of co-opted members.
The Presidential Committee considered amongst other issues classification of ICT infrastructure as critical national infrastructure, the issue of a converged regulator, applying the open access model to installed broadband infrastructure, spectrum re-farming to ensure optimal usage of this scarce national resource, and appropriate financial incentives for operators and options for financing the required aggressive roll out.
Others are affordability of broadband services through the reduction of device costs or lowering or eliminating import duties and other taxes as appropriate, reviewing and harmonising existing ICT laws to ensure support of all efforts to ensure increased broadband penetration and rolling out applications that will increase the demand for broadband services.
Johnson said financing and developing a broadband network was receiving attention at the highest levels of government in recognition of the importance of this infrastructure to national socio-economic development. "Government will also continue to intervene financially in network build out in unserved and underserved areas through the universal service fund and other creating means of funding."