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FG sets 2018 target for affordable broadband

By Emma Elebeke

THE Federal government on Monday said every Nigerian will have access to the internet in 2018.

The Vice President Namadi Sambo disclosed announced this while declaring open this year’s Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation, CTO Forum with the theme: innovation Through Broadband.

The Vice President, who  expressed satisfaction with what he called the positive impact of internet on the country’s economy, said that the dream will be made possible after completion of the five year Broadband Plan.

Sambo, who was represented by the Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, said the government is presently collaborating with the private sector to get Nigeria covered with broadband.

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According to him, the broadband will increase access to and enhance usage of ICT among the youth.

In his remarks, the Secretary General of CTO Prof Tim Unwin, said the forum is tackling problem of broadband connectivity facing some Commonwealth countries like Nigeria.

Prof Unwin said solving broadband issue is importance if full advantage of the Internet is to be gained, especially by the poorest and most marginalized people and communities.

“To do this, we need the combined expertise of companies, governments, regulators and civil society that the CTO is able to convene to deliver effective multi-stakeholder partnerships” he added

Meanwhile, Cisco’s Vice President of Global Technology Policy, Dr Robert Pepper says the broadband working group, otherwise known as Alliance for Affordable Internet, A4AI is perfecting plans to drive down the cost of broadband to five per cent.

Dr Robert Pepper disclosed this shortly after moderating the ministerial panel at the launch of the Alliance for Affordable Internet, A4AI .

He explained that the move was part of the group’s advocacy for open, competitive and innovative broadband market.

The coalition is expected to lead policy and regulatory reform and spur action to drive down artificially high internet prices in developing countries.

By reaching this goal, pepper said it will be easier to connect the two-thirds of the world that is presently not connected to the internet, and make universal access a reality.

Pepper who moderated on the topic:  What mechanisms are being employed to respond to technological change – how does this impact on regulation and policy?, said that Cisco is focused on helping businesses and governments drive sustainable growth in Africa by providing network-based technologies that help organizations innovate, drive new business models, increase productivity and create new jobs.

‘‘By advocating for open, competitive and innovative broadband markets, A4AI aims to help access prices fall to below five per cent of monthly income worldwide, a target set by the UN Broadband Commission,’’ he said.

Through its long-term commitment and investment in Africa, he stated that Cisco is helping governments, businesses and citizens build an economically sustainable future through the intelligent application of ICT.

He advised government and Nigerian business leaders to encourage social and economic transformation by focus on delivering universal broadband access.

“One of the most important steps government and business leaders in Africa can take to encourage social and economic transformation is to focus on delivering universal broadband access.  I’m looking forward to a robust discussion on how we can accelerate affordable broadband take-up across the continent, so that Africa can truly benefit from the Internet of Everything”, Pepper added.

Dr. Robert Pepper, a member of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Spectrum Management Advisory Committee and the U.S. Department of State’s Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy, leads Cisco’s Global Technology Policy team in areas such as broadband, IP-enabled services, wireless, security, privacy and ICT development.


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