By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Federal government has inaugurated a new Nigerian National Broadband Council (NNBC) in Abuja.
Presenting members of the Council, the Minister of Communications, Barr. Adebayo Shittu said the Council was expected to provide periodic evaluation of the progress and facilitate coordination and collaboration in the delivery of NNBC plan as well as highlight areas of programme adjustment to permit the realization of new and emerging opportunities.
From inception in 2013, Nigeria’s broadband penetration was 6 per cent and by 2018 it is expected to reach 30 per cent penetration.
As at today, broadband penetration hovers around 10-12 per cent. However, reports from internet users show that broadband access is still a challenge in Nigeria.
This according to them, have affected our profess in the utilization of ICT as a tool for doing business.
For instance, pat of the challenge during JAMB registration by prospective candidates was as a result of slow speed and congestion of the internet.
As part of efforts to address the challenge, the Minister said the ministry in conjunction with the ICT stakeholders had identified some key challenges militating against infrastructure roll-out including exorbitant Right of Way charges, Forex regime, inadequate power supply and security of installed equipment.
According to him, a number of steps had been taken to also address the challenges including cooperation with relevant MDAs, States and corporate bodies to secure an improved operational environment, reduce cost of infrastructure roll-out, improve on the security of installed equipment and facilities, encourage innovation and entrepreneurship as well as improve on the ease of doing business regime.
He charged members of the committee to review the status of the National Broadband Plan as at 2017 and suggest ways of accelerating infrastructure deployment to achieve the target of 30 per cent broadband penetration by the year 2018.
The Council is made of 19 members and is to be chaired by the minister.
It will be recalled that the first NNBC was inaugurated in 2013 by former minister of Communications, Mrs. Omobola Johnson to serve for a period of two .