By Emmanuel Elebeke

The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, says it is considering using Assistive Technology to address unmet needs in the nation’s telecommunications sector.

It also said the technology when deployed would assist in fulfillment of its universal access and service obligations (UASO) in compliance with the recommendations of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The Executive Vice Chairman of tgs Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta stated this at a virtual conference on developmental programme for Assistive Technology in Telecommunications to address Unmet Needs held in Abuja.

He said the Commission decided to turn to AT through universal design in all forms of telecommunications services design, in order to address these unmet needs.

He further explained that the assignment of Assistive Technology functions is an addition and novel regulatory approach towards fulfilling the universal access and service obligation.

“A major requirement of a utility regulator like the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC is to be in continual fulfillment of its universal access and service obligations (UASO).

“Achieving this mandate involves paying due attention to new media development and in particular on the approaches to availability, accessibility and usability.

“Notwithstanding the underlining design or manufacturing philosophy adopted, it is very important to meet this wide variety of needs in the original design of telecommunications systems, so that an increasing number of users can benefit from available services.

“Taking into cognisance that both accessibility and usability could differ for individual depending on physical abilities just as it can differ for sectors-specific transactions we search for assistance.”

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Through its different WPs, SG-16 develops capability to handle different information media and control actions which varies within wide boundaries amongst users of telecommunications and multimedia services.

“Besides, AT is in compliance with the recommendations of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) through Study Group-16 which Working Parties (WPs) deal with Multimedia” said Danbatta.”

In Nigeria, the EVC said a lot of success had been achieved opening up the telecommunications space and it is timely to advance attention on design for all (DfA) or universal design (UD), which can lead to offering of devices that are accessible and usable in totality.

“This consideration will, however, highlight some inherent technical and social implications for which only regulatory and legislative interventions can resolve.

“In addition, it will support several new thematic actions to be established in the national context'” he added.

For the physically challenged, Danbatta said assistance is not only needed but required to be given, saying that, in national interest assistance is required especially with new media in surveillance, immigration, policing, trade and so on.

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