IT NEWS NIGERIA:
Stakeholders and apex industry regulators have always maintained broadband
or high speed internet connectivity is the
cornerstone of digital innovations in the country and any efforts aimed at nationwide
internet inclusion will have multiplier effect on the GDP and the economy
Broadband internet, also referred to as high-speed internet,
has become a requirement for just about any business that wants to participate
in the online economy in any way. What many businesses are not aware of is that
there are different types of broadband internet access available, and some are
faster and more reliable than others.
High-speed internet access is necessary for much of our
day-to-day lives. It impacts commerce, education, health and public safety,
cultural enrichment, government and private sectors operations.
Broadband access and adoption help promote economic
development and social equity while promoting public health, public safety and
educational opportunities around the country and it underpins all the important
advances in digital innovations and services.
Broadband Internet Speeds depending on the type of access you purchase as broadband internet connection will allow business to connect to the internet in a particular bandwidth range. Many providers offer bandwidth speed at various tiered price points. While access speeds fluctuate due to a variety of factors, including modem type, your bandwidth plan, and the amount of traffic online in your area at a given time.
In response this issue of critical importance, the Nigerian
Communications Commission (NCC) last year licensed six infrastructure companies
(INFRACOs), one each in the six geo-political zones of the country with the
seventh one specifically issued for Lagos zone because of its commercial
centrality to the country. So far, Nigerians
have not experienced the impact of the initiatives.
Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive of the
Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta recently in Lagos in a keynote address at
the fourth edition of the Nigeria Innovation Summit (NIS) with the theme:
“Accelerating Nigeria’s Economic Growth through Innovation” said NCC has been implementing towards
bridging identified infrastructure gap in the telecom industry.
It was clear that without robust policy initiative to
improve broadband infrastructure, it is difficult for individuals, businesses
and governments to run any digital innovation in the financial services,
education, agriculture, commerce, healthcare and other sectors of the economy.
Government acknowledged that the theme of the event could
not have come at a better time when advancement in the Information and
Communication Technology (ICT) is, on a daily basis, throwing up innovative
technologies that organisations and businesses must leverage in order to remain
relevant and be competitive in their sphere of operations.
Citing an Accenture Technology Vision 2019 survey of more
than 6,600 business and Information Technology (IT) executives, the Danbatta said
that 94 percent of respondents in the survey said the pace of technology
innovation in their organisations had either accelerated or significantly
accelerated over the past three years, indicative of the strategic imperatives
of digital technology for every individual, business and organisation.
While intimating the gathering of stakeholders on what the
NCC has been doing as the regulatory agency driving digital transformation with
regards to investment drive in telecommunications/broadband infrastructure,
Danbatta said NCC has been working tirelessly to create an enabling environment
for competition among operators and other licensees in the industry as well as
ensuring the provision of qualitative and efficient telecommunications services
throughout the country.
He further stated that the Commission is also partnering
with necessary stakeholders across the three levels of government to
collectively address all the challenges such as vandalism, multiple taxation
and regulation, high cost of Right of Way (RoW), among others, which are
impeding speedy infrastructure deployment across the country.
“For innovation to thrive towards accelerating economic
growth, robust telecoms/broadband infrastructure upon which ICT innovations
will ride, is a necessity. It may, therefore, interest you to know that,
through effective regulatory efforts, the NCC has been able to deepen connectivity
in the country. As at June, 2019, Internet connections in the country have
reached over 122 million, with over 63.5 million of this figure connected to
broadband networks of 3G and 4G, which represents a 33.31 percent broadband
penetration,” Danbatta stated.
He explained that the need to drive digital innovations informed the establishment of the NCC’s Research and Development Department in 2016 which has, so far, led to the disbursement of millions of Naira, in grants, to sponsor innovation-oriented research projects in tertiary institutions and other research institutes.
“Another area where NCC has been playing a pivotal role
in promoting investment opportunities and innovation within the digital
ecosystem for economic growth is in exposing young Small and Medium
Enterprisers (SME) owners in the ICT industry to global investment
opportunities. This is done annually through sponsoring young Nigerian
innovators to such global forum as the International Telecommunication Union
(ITU) Telecoms World principally to provide them with the platform to exhibit
relevant, home-grown technology innovations and solutions to the global
investment community,” he said.
The NCC EVC said that given their collective prioritisation of digital technology, what will be paramount, going forward, will be the innovative ways by which new and emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), augmented reality, robotics, Cloud computing, Big data, Over-the-Top (OTT), Block-chain technology, advanced security systems and and so on, are deployed by companies looking for the next competitive edge to drive innovative products and services for the consumers.
Danbatta, therefore, averred that the theme of the event
could not have come at a better time when advancement in ICT, on a daily basis,
is throwing up innovative technologies that organisations and businesses must
leverage in order to remain relevant and be competitive in their sphere of
operations,” he said.
The list of reasons why broadband internet is not important
for businesses is a much, much shorter list than the reasons why it is.
Virtually every type of product and service being offered
today is being offered either both physically and online, or online only.
Everything from banking and financial services, telecommunications,
entertainment, and education are integrating online components or migrating to
the internet entirely.
The reason for the massive shift is the simple fact that the
internet provides a fast, convenient way for businesses to connect with their
customers. Having broadband internet access is of the same importance these
days as the traditional phone line has been since the turn of the 20th century.