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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

ATCON welcomes calls for fundamental Internet access

The recent calls by stakeholders for the consideration of access to broadband Internet as a fundamental human right for all Nigerian citizens has been described as a welcome development.

The president of the Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu gave this description in a lecture he gave at the weekend in Lagos during the Distinguished Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Annual Lecture (DEEEAL) organised by a division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers.

Omo-Ettu, who spoke on “Pathway to connecting the Last Man” noted that the clamour is appropriate, especially coming from common men, but said that realising this dream would take a gradual process.

Therefore, he appealed for patience, stating that definitely it would come to pass.

“The precise time that this transformation in the mind of the common man occurred is hard to put a finger on. My guess is that it was a gradual process but a welcome one nonetheless,” he said.

ITRealms Online recalls that this call has emerged from various industry forums on Internet Governance and Five Years of IGF: The Way Forward for Nigeria organised by Digital Sense Africa in Lagos, last April, which re-echoed at the Broadband for Nigeria forum in Abuja in July.

Tracing the history of the lecturer, he noted that an idea similar to what is now called DEEEAL lecture was mooted in 1996 during when he was the chairman of the division.

“Its advocates argued that the Division as the Institution was then known ought to institute a platform where a notable Electrical Engineer should be given the rostrum to recommend a worthy objective which the Division could pursue as a matter of national development,” he said.

According to him, it was recommended that such a speaker must demonstrably break new ground - worthy of the Institution’s support and backing.

The audience and its selection, he said, would be primarily, but not entirely, at the discretion of the nominee-lecturer and should include a wide spectrum of top professionals from government, politics, academia and business.

“The lecture, like any of our other programmes, must also have a subtle economic objective that chimes with the ethos and operations of the Division,” he said.

Pointing out that since the DEEEAL Lecture commenced a few years after, it could now boast of a list of illustrious speakers.

“I have been fortunate enough to be present at all the lectures delivered in the past three years and I can say, with contentment and pride, that its raison d’ĂȘtre has been retained,” he said.

Commending the leadership of the division, he noted that the 2009 lecture was given to Mr. John Ayodele, who promoted the idea of “Distributed Generation for our public electricity supply system”. He said that 12 months on, and given that inadequate power is one of the impediments to the development and growth of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Nigeria, he is yet to see how far the Institution has pushed this radical idea which strictly speaking, is a fundamental shift from the way the power service has been managed.

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