Telecommunication operators in Nigeria have been admonished to improve rural telecommunications connectivity by making sure communication services are extended to the local areas yet to receive it in the country.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and stakeholders, who voiced out their displeasure, blasted the rising gaps in rural telecoms services. NCC then begged telecoms operators to take their efficient service coverage and delivery to villages and rural areas rather than working on more technologies that a lot of people will not have access to.
Presently, there are one hundred and ninety-five access gaps in Nigeria, where about forty million citizens have been denied any kind of communication service. This is the reason why the call for rural connectivity became a topic of discussion at the 10th edition and awards of the eWorld forum organised by the Ajomedia limited/eWorldNews with theme: “Roadmap to Broadband Everywhere,” a few days ago in Lagos State.
Experts who aired their view during a panel session at the event voiced out their concerns. They said even if the world is switching to 5G, “what have we done with the available 4G and 3G as the rural community are yet to benefit from it?”
According to these experts, it is now important to connect these forgotten areas of Nigeria if we want to be certain that the telecommunication revolution is enjoyed throughout the nation.
Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Danbata disclosed that broadband is a key tech and a turning point to making the dreams of sustainable development come true. He further said NCC has begun the deployment of the optic fibre transmission network in the open-access model to provide quick, dependable broadband services.
His words, “To address this gap, the Commission has set a strategic imperative to ensure access to pervasive broadband through an open access model in line with Nigerian broadband plan in facilitating the availability, affordability and accessibility to broadband infrastructure and services.”
eWorld Forum Organiser and MD, Ajomedia, Aaron Ukodie was not left out, he made his own point by saying, “To achieve digital revolution, the regulator has to focus more on enabling the players; the environment should be more investment-friendly than it is now; take access to the underserved and the unserved across the country; services need to be more affordable, and we need digital infrastructure.”
Chairman of Mobile Software Solutions/Connect Technologies Limited, Chris Uwaje then shared that rural infrastructures in abandoned parts of Nigeria need to also get exposed to the broadband and emerging technologies because it was about time. He broke down his view with these words, “Can we have smart cities and no smart villages? If you want to focus on Lagos, Kano, and Abuja only, the implication will be a massive rural-urban migration. We need rural infrastructures too.
“We should also be talking about a local cloud so our data centre will be in Nigeria and not elsewhere. Spectrum is the core. It is not only about 4G and 5G. The issue of smart cities must go in line with the local cloud to increase data security and reduce cost.”
Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) President, Gbenga Adebayo also emphasized that the time for regulators to improve local content and be interested in Quality of Services (QoS) offered is here.
His words, “NCC needs to look at the state of health of the licensed firms because some of the licensed holders don’t have the physical infrastructure, while those in operation are not faring well. Also, the present challenges will affect the incoming Infracos if nothing is done. When the legacy problem remains the same, we can’t make any progress. We need to take a step further on these challenges.”