How we’re addressing broadband issues — Pantami
By Juliet Umeh
Despite the federal government’s effort on technology, Nigeria could not be ranked among 82 countries in the Global Social Mobility Index 2020.
The country falls below the required indices.
This is according to a report by the World Economic Forum, WEF.
The report covered 82 countries, assessing the levels of mobility in 10 fields including technology, health, education, and wages among others.
Social mobility index provides policy-makers a means of identifying areas for improving social services and promoting equally shared opportunities in their economies, regardless of their development.
Under technology, the index assesses and ranks six areas: Internet users, fixed-broadband Internet subscriptions, mobile broadband subscriptions, the population covered by at least a 3G network, rural population with electricity access and Internet access in schools.
Some African countries ranked are Tunisia 62, Ghana 70, Egypt 71, and South Africa 72.
Others are Cameroon 80, Senegal 81 and Coted’Ivoire 82.
In terms of Internet users, the index shows South Africa ranked 76 out of 82 countries surveyed.
The report aggregated access to the Internet in South Africa, to rate Gauteng highest at 74 percent, the Western Cape-70.8 percent, and Mpumalanga-63.3percent; and lowest in Limpopo-43.6-percent and the Eastern Cape- 51.8 percent.
However, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, appears to give the impression that the country is fast addressing issues leading to such embarrassing exclusions.
Addressing issues affecting the telecommunications sector on a television programme recently, Pantami said Nigeria has constituted a national broadband plan committee that is working to develop a broadband plan for Nigeria from 2020 to 2025. He added that the report will be ready in the second week of February.
He hinted that since his appointment, he has been working towards improving the sector to ensure that industry activities that give Nigeria a negative outlook are systematically reversed.
He said: “Whenever we see that the business is not going right, we review the policies in place. As of today, we have about 193 access gaps in Nigeria with close to 38 million people without even access to Internet connectivity; that number is enough to form a country”.
He, however, said that efforts, including policy reforms aimed at extending access to these gaps, are ongoing.
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Part of the strategies to get services to the access gaps, according to him, is to encourage the telecommunications operators, give them incentives and targets to enable them to cover the unserved and underserved Nigerian populace as fast as possible.
He said: “Based on my responsibility, I want to come up with policies that will be given to the regulators to use as a regulatory instrument to enable operators to perform optimally.
“ Secondly, we’ll encourage shared infrastructure because sometimes if you feel your infrastructure cannot accommodate the customers it’s allowed for you to have an agreement with another operator that has the most available infrastructure in place so as to share facilities and pay a certain amount of money from time to time.
Pantami also said that since his appointment as the minister of communications and digital economy, he has done a lot to ensure that telecom operators not only render quality services to subscribers but also discontinue to fleece them with unsolicited services.