Wednesday, August 12, 2009

NCC says telecom is key to achieving Vision 20-2020

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said telecommunications is key to achieving the Vision 20-2020 of the current administration in the country, reports CHARLES OKOH.

The commission made this pronouncement through its chief executive, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, who spoke in Lagos at the weekend, restated the pivotal role of telecommunications in the government’s quest to positioning Nigeria among the top 20 economies of the world by 2020.

Speaking at the just concluded Nigerian Telecom Development Lecture (NITDEL) 2009 in Lagos, Ndukwe said that countries that lack sufficient access to modern telecommunications networks find it difficult to be effectively integrated into the global economy.

In his paper to the occasion entitled “Telecom in the service of the modern society” Ndukwe said the commission is currently working on some programmes that will make the use of ICT applications commonplace in government, schools and businesses.

“As we strive to measure up with the rest of the world, it is important for Nigeria to keep pace with technological trends in this fast moving industry. One obvious trend is that the technological borders between telecommunications, IT and broadcasting is blurring at a quickening pace. Another fact is the trend towards the realization of a ubiquitous network society where people can access and exchange information freely, at any time, from anywhere, and from any appliance in converged ICT environment,” he said.

Ndukwe, who identified broadband as the future of connectivity, said two major technologies, digital mobile phones and the Internet are driving a new level of connectivity that were hitherto unknown and are enabling various transactions to be carried out over high capacity modern networks.

“The content flowing over such modern networks includes not only e-mails and telephone calls, but also music, movies and television, demanding huge amounts of bandwidth. Broadband enables us to use one universal network to support any and all media,” the NCC boss said.

He said without ICT a nation or person cannot reach her full potential, stressing that access to broadband is a key to keeping small businesses competitive in today’s world.

“Two new reports, by the World Bank (Information and Communication for development report, 2006) and World Economic Forum (Global Information Technology report, 2005-2006), underline the fact that economic development depends on overall progress in a country’s ICT sector, and that, without such progress, both economies and companies suffer. Thus the World Banks study finds that firms that use ICT grow faster, and are more productive and profitable than those that do not. Access to broadband has also been identified as key to keeping small businesses competitive in any modern economy,” he said.

Ndukwe said telecommunications is an essential infrastructure of the information economy stating that nation has over the past eight years been providing the right environment to attract serious investors and encourage market forces to thrive, all aimed at attracting new sources of capital, accelerating network expansion, improving pricing, enhancing quality of service and introducing new technology.

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