" ITREALMS: Fear of revenue loss may stall broadband roll-out – Ajayi

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fear of revenue loss may stall broadband roll-out – Ajayi

President, Nigeria Internet Group (NIG), Mr. Lanre Ajayi has identified the lack of enthusiasm by the GSM operators as one of the major challenges that may stall ubiquitous broadband services in the country, reports CHARLES OKOH.

GSM operators are said to be harbouring the fear that the venture could affect their profit margins.

Ajayi who was speaking in Lagos last week at the eWorld organized forum on Broadband Development in Nigeria, listed monopoly on SAT3 cable, lack of adequate national transmission backbone and unavailability of spectrum for last mile as some of the other reasons.

He also identified lack of effective internet exchange points (IXPs) as a result of proliferation of VSAT terminals whose hubs are located outside the territories of the IXPs.

The NIG boss who spoke on “Bridging the Nigerian Broadband Divide” said GSM is an enabler of the talking culture of Africans as opposed to broadband which would enable documentation of the experiences and sharing knowledge for posterity.

“The GSM is a tool helping the modern day Africans to sustain the talking culture of their fore bearers, even, today we have very little documentation of the expertise and knowledge gained. We are still busy talking rather than documenting and sharing experiences, thanks to the GSM,” he lamented.

Broadband, he said, would serve as a catalyst to true development as it offers the greatest opportunity to Africans to start documenting experiences and sharing knowledge within Africa and the global community.

Mr. Ajayi said movie, books, music, training materials, journals, can be digitized to make them appear in storage friendly format before transmission on a broadband network

“African fore bearers were known to have very rich history and good knowledge in traditional medicine, great in music compositions, had excellent expertise in arts and craft. Yet their descendants, modern day Africans remain poor.”

Other areas where broadband can be applied, Mr. Ajayi said, include, eHealth, eLearning, eGovernment, eCommerce as well as eEntertainment.

Ajayi advised that efforts to bridge the broadband divide should leverage on the latest terrestrial wireless technology to pursue aggressive rollout (WIMAX,EVDO, etc, give the necessary incentives to the operators to rollout service, through pegging the cost of spectrum, as well as utilize necessary regulatory instrument to make it unattractive for the GSM operators not to rollout affordable broadband through lowering the interconnect rate.

He also recommended the need to negotiate with manufacturers the possibility of introduction of affordable terminal devices like manufacture UMPC locally, encourage emerging alternatives to SAT3, namely Glo1, MainOne cables.

He also advised on optimising the opportunities presented by NIGCOMSAT, RASCOM and other satellite initiatives and encouraging the rollout of national fiber optics transmission lines to backhaul the traffic from the terrestrial wireless network to the exchange point.

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