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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Nigeria needs broadband policy – Ndukwe

The former executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, has canvassed for a broadband policy for the country.

Giving his keynote at a one-day Stakeholders conference and exhibition on the proposed re-launch of the Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigCOMSAT-1R), Ndukwe preside currently over the Open Media Group, on ‘Powering Nigeria’s Digital Economy by Enabling Wireless Broadband Technologies for the Last Mile,’ said that Nigeria needs broadband policy.

According to him, many countries of the world with high broadband penetration of today, got there by encouragement and provision of incentives for widespread broadband connective.

He also said that smart phones and tablets backed by broadband connections are becoming the essential things of life.

Nigeria, he said, requires much more than bail out stimulus than what was even released in the United States to boost satellite communications through granting of bail-out benefits by Hughes.

Equally, he said that Nigeria requires a broadband policy urgently to improve or at least maintain its position in the global Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

“We also require to a consensus to achieve universal access,” he said, hence last mile deployments based on wireline infrastructure would need to be fine tuned.

Broadband, he said, would encourage the use of more smart phones and other more active tools, noting that there is expectation that some more cheap phones from China would impair the market share of smartphones and mobile handset manufacturers.

Dr Ndukwe described broadband as an enabler of improved communications, pointing out that broadband users’ currently is at 1.8 billion, expressing optimistic that by 2016, this would rise to 5 billion.

Welcoming guest to the conference, Managing Director, NigComSAT, Mr. Timassaniyu Ahmed-Rufai, said that the company has grown from small office to a major player in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.

The idea, he said, was to take Nigeria to space and by 2004 when the adventure started it took four years, 2008 to get NigComSAT 1 satellite to be de-orbited due to solar array challenges, and the story has not been the same.

“It has been a long and tortuous journey to this day. Indeed, so many thought there was never a satellite. Others related to the reality with cautions optimism,” he said.

He further said that the replacement satellite, NigComSAT-1R has reached advanced stage of about 90 per cent and it’s being replaced at no cost to Nigeria.

NigComSAt, he said, is resolute to getting to the next level by providing a satellite platform that would be the pride of all Africans in general and Nigeria in particular.

Remmy Nweke, who was in Abuja
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