-Advocates for a national policy on community networks
By Ibrahim Hassan-Wuyo
The Executive Director, Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), Mr Yunusa Zakari has said that based on government statistics, one hundred million Nigerians are left behind and excluded from the benefits of the internet.
Zakari, at a press conference in Kaduna, said there is an urgent need for a national policy on community networks to address the digital divide in the country.
According to him, the United Nations has been at the forefront of the advocacy that no one should be left behind or excluded from the benefits of digital technology as that prompted them in 2015 to set up the digital solidarity fund to finance ICT development so as to bridge the international dimension of the digital divide.
CITAD, therefore, called on the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy to set up a mechanism for the development of a National Policy for Community Networks.
It also called on the NCC to develop guidelines and regulations for the operation of community networks in the country and to allow communities to access and use TV White Space (TVWS) for the purposes of setting up community networks.
CITAD ” enjoins the Galaxy Backbone PLC to provide communities with access to its backbone for them to use as their community networks getaways.”
“The USPF to support the upgrading of the many community digital centres they set up in the country to serve as the nucleus of community networks for communities that desirous and passionate to set up such in their communities.”
“NITDA to work with communities at the grassroots level to drive digital
literacy which is critical for the effective utilization of digital technology and which is the foundation upon which the digital transformation agenda of the country will rest,” it said.
Similarly, the group tasked the private sector operators in the sector to as, part of their corporate social responsibility, support communities building community networks.
“Call on all other stakeholders, including political office holders to
support communities to go digital as a critical contribution to community development,” he said.
The Executive Director said that the 16th edition of the global Internet Governance Forum (IGF), commenced two days ago at Katowice, Poland, with the general theme of “United Internet”.