By Michael Eboh
The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has disclosed that about 40 million Nigerians are currently been deprived access to the internet due to over 200 access gaps recorded in the Information and Communication Technology industry.
Speaking at the ongoing International Telecommunication Union, ITU, Annual Regional Human Capacity Building Workshop organized in conjunction with the Digital Bridge Institute, Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive officer of the NCC, Mr. Umar Danbatta, also stated that something needed to done urgently to bridge these gaps.
He said, “In Nigeria, we have more than 200 access gaps. We know where these gaps are and you won’t believe this, but these access gaps deprive Nigerians, close to 40 million of them, access to internet.
“When we talk about policies that need to be put in place to improve internet services, we need to look at what we can we do to fast track plugging these access gaps, because unless we do something, many of our citizens would continue to live without access to internet, especially the right kind of internet connectivity, the high speed internet, which must be facilitated by broadband infrastructure.”
Danbatta maintained that the infrastructure that is necessary to facilitate access to the internet must be available, noting, however, that the Federal Government had started the process and had already divided the country into seven zones, with each zone having a licensee to deploy broadband infrastructure.
“The whole essence is to provide that connectivity which is necessary; and connectivity that is easily accessible and easily available and of course, affordable, to the masses of this country. I believe other countries are doing the same so that access to the internet can be facilitated at the right speed and time, irrespective of where our citizens are located. Access is very important,” he noted.
The NCC chief executive insisted that connectivity was key to empowering citizens, socially and economically, adding that it would play a critical role in the country’s digital transformation drive.