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Saturday, May 25, 2019

Omobola Johnson prescribes new role for telecom regulators - ITREALMS

The immediate past Minister of Communication Technology, Dr (Mrs) Omobola Johnson, has prescribed that new role of regulators in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) must change into that of enabler of infrastructure to remain relevant in this dispensation, reports ITREALMS.

Speaking at the Eko Hall, venue of the first Nigerian Telecom Leadership Summit by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), as she gave insights into what the future of telecom should hold for Nigeria’s economy in a digital environment.

“The role of the regulator need to change from a licensor and enforcer of level playing field to that of an enabler of infrastructure building” she declared.

Stressing that there should be an enabling environment to encourage huge capital outlay that is in multiples of $14 billion that achieved the telecom revolution during her time.

She also pointed out that the digital economy including innovations that deal with exportable talents and skill creations, as well as building of digital infrastructures that connects everyone to digital signals. This infrastructure is what is needed now to enable Artificial Intelligence, 5G Networks and creation of Smart Cities across the land.

According to her current talks should centre on how new investments in infrastructure, technology, talents and skills and innovations would allow Nigeria to leapfrog.

“We need to look beyond statistics to how we build the digital infrastructure… how it should be funded…

“We need software engineers and exportable skills that are built around digital infrastructure.

“We need to look at reliability (of networks and technologies). We should redefine our infrastructure in a more different way and the cost of data. We need to get pricing right and then talk of accessibility”.

“We need an infrastructure that is ubiquitous, reliable, and affordable and fast”, according to her.

She said Nigeria now needs a private and public partnership arrangement that creates the framework to achieve the blended capital needed to achieve broadband ubiquity. The infrastructure “is not good enough and services are insatiable”.

“I cannot think of any single model of our national aspiration; anything we are trying to do that is not going to be dependent on investment on technology and the infrastructure that enables it” Omobola said.

The regulator must be ahead of the industry and it should be more engaging and collaborative, embracing such new tech-entrepreneurs, ensuring licensing is faster for emerging players in the new emerging tech-generation.

She asked rhetorically, if the regulator was a policeman or revenue collector or a growth-enabler. 

In proffering an answer, she said that the regulator should be a facilitator and an enabler, demanding that the role of the NCC, for instance, should be broadened and more collaborative.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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