Leading digital mobile operator, MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, has urged industry regulatory and development agencies to take steps that will lead to greater penetration of broadband services, especially in the rural parts of the country.
The Corporate Services Executive at MTN, Mr. Akinwale Goodluck, who spoke at a capacity building workshop in Abuja on Thursday, said the Nigerian Communications Commission and the National Information Technology Development Agency needed to do more to promote broadband penetration.
According to him, NCC and NITDA need to subsidise the roll-out of broadband services in the rural areas from the funds operators contributed for the development of underserved parts of the country domiciled in the government agencies.
He listed other areas, which needed government’s intervention for the penetration of broadband services to include liberal policy on spectrum management as well as a clear road map for serving underserved communities.
The MTN topnotch said the two government agencies as well as the National Broadcasting Commission needed to collaborate more in solving the problems of the industry rather than work in isolation.
Goodluck said, “It is critical to develop a National Broadband Policy, which articulates a road map and strategy for broadband penetration and service delivery. Lack of broadband policy means there is no clear road map for spectrum planning, particularly with the harvesting of the digital dividend spectrums.
“Broadband penetration is meaningless without appropriate regulatory environment which enables the delivery of converged services. It is time to pursue institutional and regulatory convergence. Government also needs to articulate policies and strategies for driving broadband usage through eGovernance, eCommerce and eEconomy services.”
He added, “Well-known challenge with power and security means that operators also have to build and manage power, diesel distribution and security networks, in addition to core telecoms networks. This dissipates energy and resources.
“There is urgent need to address imposition of unstructured fees and charges by the various labels of government and service interruptions arising from collection attempts.”
Goodluck listed the benefits of broadband penetration in rural areas as offering a remote interaction with specialists, an instant and cheaper access to efficient health information as well as a platform for delivering primary healthcare.
Farmers could use broadband Internet access for market information, purchase of equipment, seedlings and other inputs and also to gain access to weather forecasts and other important information, he added.
He said achieving the potential required a comprehensive policy framework, effective private public participation for infrastructure development and service delivery as well as a concerted effort to address service dependencies militating against the achievement of broadband objectives.