Lagos, Sept. 8, 2023: Telecommunications stakeholders on Thursday emphasised that collaboration limits the barriers to national boadband penetration and promoted digital economy.
The telecommunication stakeholders said at the Telecoms Executives and Regulators Forum 2023 (TERF) organised by Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) in Lagos.
The theme of the forum is ‘’ Success Factors and Barriers to National Broadband and Digital Economy Aspiration ‘’
The Executive Vice Chairman Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) Prof Umar Danbatta in his keynote presentation while highlighting the successes of the commission said nobody should be excluded digitally due to barrier.
Danbatta said that inclusiveness should be taken into consideration when it comes to provision of ICT services.
He said that it is therefore important that ICT should be made available to people no matter the circumstances , the barrier should be removed and the ICT service provided.
According to him, the commission is promoting the Telecom industry through the expansion of broadband infrastructure.
‘’Broadband infrastructure has helped in digital readiness, development, accessibilities in education, medical services, transportation system, finance, commerce and maintenance of the SDG goals.
‘’The broadband penetration from the year 2020 to be 30 per cent, 50 per cent in 2023 and it was projected to be 70 per cent in 2025 .
‘’The Telecom sector has contributed 16 per cent to the national Gross Domestic Products now second after agriculture’’, he said.
The EVC emphasised that the challenges in deployment of broadband infrastructure particularly in remote, rugged and swampy terrains is a major obstacle.
He also highlighted Cybersecurity concerns as digital adoption increases so does the risk of cyber attack and data breaches.
‘’Strengthening our cyber security measures will protect our citizens data, booster consumer trust, and secure digital infrastructure.’’
He also highlighted multiple taxation as a challenge that should be looked into especially in the area of excise duty which is placed on luxury goods of which telcos infrastructure should be treated as essential.
Danbatta said that frequent power outage and unreliable power infrastructure could distrupt digital services.
He however said that addressing this challenge would be key to maintaining uninterrupted connectivity”.
The National commissioner, Nigeria Data Protection Commision (NDPC) Dr. Vincent Olatunji also, speaking at the Forum on ‘Landscape of Nigeria’s Digital Economy, highlighted trends and growth of internet penetrations
Olatunji said that the trends and growth has brought about Mobile Technology dominance, revolution in digital payment, ecommerce surge, start-up ecosystem among other.
He said the challenges were funding, Digital literacy, Cyber security threats and attitudinal change and infrastructural gap.
According to him, the impact of Data protection on digital economy has improved data security, global recognition, data localization and innovation in tech start-ups
The president, ATCON, Mr Tony Emoekpere in his welcome address said that if issue’s discussed at the Forum should be addressed the contribution of the telcom sector would improve.
Emoekpere said that this Forum would also help address the salient challenges facing the industry.
The president said that the Association is essentially committed to promoting ICT growth and telecoms in Nigeria.
He, however, appreciated the regulators and all the organisations that supported and contributed to the success of the even
Also speaking, President, Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) Mr Gbenga Adebayo emphasised the need for the independence of the industry.
Adebayo said that ALTON as an Advocacy group as talked about issues as it affects the industry but nothing seems to be changing.
He said the industry stakeholders should look at what should be addressed own the problem and solve it themselves.
The ALTON president also said that the issue of the national tariff should be reconsidered and also repatriation of our young brains
The MD, Informations Connectivity Solutions Ltd, Mr Yemi Oshodi, speaking on Challenges to Universal Broadband and Digital Services in Nigeria, said that the issue of cost, and need to create more infrastructures to initiate connectivity to rural areas should be considered
Head, Enterprise Sales, Fibre One Broadband Limited, suggested that special and deliberate commitment to indigenous content, freedoms from multiple taxation and protecting the infrastructure helps in reducing the challenges.