THE Execute Vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (EVC), Dr. Eugene Juwah, has said that the commission is poised to providing light regulation in terms of access and fees charged operators in its bid to promote broadband connectivity, reports CHARLES OKOH.
Dr. Juwah who was speaking last week at the second annual Broadband Forum, in Lagos, said the commission would provide open and equal access to all operators to enhance competition.
“What this means is that large or small you can take part and transact which would lead to lower tariff. We would continue to support broadband infrastructure and remain firm, fair and forthright,” he said.
Dr. Juwah who was represented by the Director, New Media and Information Security, Dr. Sylvanus Ehikioya, said ICT permeates every aspects of life and for these applications to be robust, requires bandwidth which broadband guarantees.
He said to provide broadband to all would require a public, private partnership (PPP) where government would provide right of way; the operators would provide the money while the NCC provides grants or subsidy.
He also revealed that in a bid to check the activities of insecurity, the commission has a new department to address issues arising from insecurity.
In his contribution, President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu, challenged entrepreneurs to take advantage of the many opportunities of broadband and not wait on government.
“The opportunities the emergence of Glo 1 and MainOne have brought are too numerous and are integral to business, I am drawing the attention of investors, entrepreneurs and my compatriots to come and do business. There is a lot of business to be done and I do not want to start thinking that it is the government that would do the business. There is a lot of money to be made now and if we do not take the opportunity, we should blame ourselves,” he said.
Omo-Ettu lamented the lack of synergy among industry practitioners, adding that the current trend of importing content needed to be reversed.
Equally speaking, the President, Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) Mr. Bayo Banjo, called for a legal framework to check the possible increase in crime which the coming of broadband would throw up.
Banjo said currently the nation ranks third, after the United States of America (USA) and United Kingdom (UK), in the world index for cyber crime.
He noted that with less than 20 per cent broadband access, the nation still ranks tops in the world, wondering what would happen when bandwidth is increased.
He said broadband destroys borders and that internet would expose the nation to the rest of the world, warning that if nothing is done fast in checking cyber crime, the rest of the world would cut Nigeria off.
“Cyber laws must be passed quickly. The US is highest but they apply sanctions by sending to jail those found guilty but here in Nigeria people are not made to account for their source of wealth,” he lamented.
In his goodwill remark, former ATCON president and Chairman, Teledon Group, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, challenged architects to include ICT network as part of building construction in the country.
“This is one network that has not been considered, whereas electrical and plumbing are taken care of,” he said.
Dr. Ekuwem said going forward Nigerians must be operator, technology manufacturers or software developers to belong to the new technological age.
He also called for broadband access, affordability and availability, just as he warned that the country risks suffering digital imperialism if all the nation does is downloading content.
“If we are not developing and uploading contents it means the industry is not in our grip,” he stated.
Speaking on the topic; “How Nigerians businesses can take part in the broadband revolution, Managing Director, Icecool Contracts Limited, Mr. Destiny Amana, said increasing commercial use of the internet has heightened security and privacy concerns.
He said other questions concerning internet growth relate to government controls, especially taxation and censorship.
“Because the internet has grown so rapidly, governments have had little time to pass laws that control its deployment and use, impose taxes on Internet commerce, or otherwise regulate content,” he said.
Mr. Amana said companies doing business over the internet need sophisticated security measures to protect credit card, bank account, and social security numbers from unauthorized access as they pass across the internet.
He also said the primary challenge is to create enough capacity to accommodate increases in traffic, adding that several technical challenges must be overcome if the internet is to continue growing at the current phenomenal rate.
“Internet traffic is increasing as more people become internet users and existing users send greater amounts of data. Disruptions that could cause loss of life or that could be part of a coordinated terrorist attack have also become an increasing concern,” he said.
The forum which was put together by the duo of Aaron Ukodia of eWorld magazine and Ufuoma Emuophedaro of e-Busienss Life magazine and had as its theme; Broadband and Mobile Application Ecosystem and the New Media, had many industry players in attendance.
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