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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Broadband Council demands boosts of NIRA funding to increase .NG uptake



The Nigeria Broadband Council as urged the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to close the funding gap in the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA) to enable it meet up with high levels of uptake, reports ITRealms.

The Council at the end of its quarterly meeting in Abuja, the nation’s capital recently made this call for adequate funding for NIRA.

They adduced to ITRealms that NIRA must reduce the cost of .NG to be globally competitive, stressing that in order to accelerate .NG domain uptake, NITDA, its supervisory agency, must step in with relevant funds to close gaps evident in pent up demands.

Also, ITRealms gathered that in recognition of the crucial role broadband plays in inclusive development and in a bid to increase awareness and drive demand, the Council acknowledged the work of online market spaces in encouraging Small, Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to bring their products and services online and urged the SME Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) to fund or drive an awareness campaign that will get many more SMEs online.

Just as they pointed out to ITRealms in a press statement endorsed by Mrs. Efem Nkanga, the Special Adviser Media to the Honourable Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, that the Broadband Council at its previous meeting pushed for increased Third Generation (3G) coverage to 50 per cent of the Nigerian population by the end of 2015.

The Council commended the efforts of Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) for the timely completion of its Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Access Gap Study.

They concluded this study would further help operators to service latent demand, stressing that the significant work by the USPF has given real empirical data to the issue of which areas of the country have connectivity.

The Council further scored overall progress as good but needed acceleration on items such as pricing and metro fibre. 

Following the recent announcement of the Infraco License winners, the NCC’s work on wholesale and cost based pricing to improve the affordability of access to the internet would soon be available.

Council concluded that progress was still too slow and challenged the ICT industry to see to it that the broadband plan targets were met.

ITRealms recalls that Broadband Council was inaugurated on July 16, 2013 and is made up of 19 members chaired by Dr Omobola Johnson. The Council charged with the responsibility of monitoring implementation modalities for the approved Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2013 – 2018 has been working to ensure that Nigeria achieves a five-fold increase in broadband penetration by 2017/2018. 

+Remmy Nweke (ITRealms) +Efem Nkanga +Tony Ojobo
ITREALMS ... delivering news for ICT4D
pix: Mrs Uduma, NIRA president

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