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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Johnson to declare open A4AI-Nigeria Coalition Tuesday

 ITRealms:

The recently appointed Honorary Chairperson of Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI)-Nigeria Coalition and the immediate past Minister of Communication Technology, Dr Omobola Johnson, would on Tuesday, November 24, declare open (A4AI) stakeholders meeting in Lagos, ITRealms reports.

In a press release by the Communications Officer, World Wide Web Foundation, Lauran Potter, she said that the Internet and the access to information and services that comes with it has become a key component of everyday life in many countries.

Johnson spoke preparatory to her opening a meeting of stakeholders working to increase access to affordable Internet in Nigeria. The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI)-Nigeria Coalition will convene at the Victoria Crown Plaza Hotel to discuss ongoing efforts to reduce broadband prices in the country, and to deliberate best practices for overcoming key obstacles to improved affordability.

ITRealms  gathered that Dr Johnson who will be joined at the meeting by Dr Ernest Ndukwe, former Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian National Communications Commission (NCC), who currently serves as the National Coordinator for the A4AI-Nigeria Coalition, said, “the importance of expanding access to affordable broadband so that all Nigeria’s citizens can come online cannot be overstated. I look forward to working with the A4AI-Nigeria Coalition to ensure that we develop and advocate for the policies needed to ensure Internet for all.”

Low levels of affordability remain a significant barrier to Internet and broadband access in Nigeria, where just over 42 per cent of citizens are online. A recent study by A4AI – the world’s broadest technology sector coalition working to bring down the price of broadband – revealed that Nigeria does not meet the UN target of entry-level broadband priced at 5 per cent or less of average income for those living in poverty.  

The A4AI-Nigeria Coalition comprises over 100 stakeholders from across Nigeria’s public, private, and civil society sectors, who are working together to tackle barriers to affordability in Nigeria, including pricing transparency, infrastructure sharing, and consumer awareness. This meeting will mark the group’s third since the Coalition was formed in March 2014, and will be opened by DrOmobola Johnson, who was recently appointed Honorary Chairperson of A4AI, ITRealms learnt.

Ndukwe said, “The A4AI-Nigeria Coalition has been hard at work since March 2014 debating the primary barriers to increased Internet access and affordability in Nigeria and the best ways to overcome these challenges. We have worked with the Federal Ministry of Communications and Nigerian Communications Commission to monitor TV white spaces trials and develop appropriate policy recommendations; drafted a document that spells out the benefits of the Internet to sensitise users and non-users; and developed policy recommendations to improve infrastructure sharing and the use of open access across Nigeria.

“Yet much work remains to make affordable Internet across Nigeria a reality. This meeting will allow us the unique opportunity to assess our progress to date, and to determine priorities and next steps for our work going forward. We look forward to sharing our conclusions with you after the meeting, and to continuing our work toward the important goal of universal access,” he concluded.

Cyriacus Nnaji/GEE

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