The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, has advocated for national policies to drive and achieve broadband penetration by 2025 in the country.
Pantami made the call during the inauguration of 36 member committee of the technical retreat for zero drafts of the Nigerian national broadband plan 2020-2025, in Abuja.
He recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had on November 28, unveiled the national policy for digital economy policy and strategy for a digital Nigeria, which had eight pillars.
The pillars were comprised of developmental regulation, digital literacy and skills, solid infrastructure, service infrastructure, digital services development and promotion, soft infrastructure, digital society and emerging technologies and indigenous content, development and promotion.
He, however, explained that the committee was to work with the third pillar, adding that it would accommodate broadband, data centre and it would be key because other pillars relied so much on it.
He also said that the work of the committee would go a long way in supporting national digital economy policy and strategy for the Federal Government.
He explained that the ministry came up with this committee because the country had national broadband in place for five years from 2013 to 2018, which expired in 2018.
He called on the committee to carefully look into the expired 2013/2018 national broadband plan work and work on what had not been achieved, reasons and challenges that affected and look into the underserved and served areas.
“If you look at pillar three, it accommodates broadband and data centre, this is key because all other pillars rely so much on this very important one.
“I think the work of the committee is going to address significantly one of the eight pillars and the remaining seven pillars also are attached to it and their success also depends on this very important pillar.
“So that is why this committee is very important, strategic, it is a national broadband committee, however, the work of this committee will go a long way in supporting national digital economy policy and strategy for the Federal Government.
“According to one economic forum, by 2022, 60 per cent of the world economy will be digitalised, just in the next three years. And by 2030, almost 85 per cent of the world economy is going to be a digital economy because digital economy is dominating the world.
“You cannot develop and promote digital economy without broadband at your disposal or in your country.
“We feel it is necessary after getting our national broadband in place we need to immediately see how we can come up with another very important strategic committee to work on our national broadband plan.
“All hands must be joined together to see how we can penetrate underserved and unserved areas in the country,” he said.
In his speech, Mr Guy Harrison, a representative of the United Kingdom Government, said that the UK government was looking forward to seeing zero drafts, which the consultants would help to support development in the broadband strategy.
Harrison said that the development would provide national leadership and strategic sector direction for countrywide broadband connectivity and also set a framework for all engagements in the public and private sectors.
In his goodwill message, Professor Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said that it would meet the sustainable development goals and it would also transform the economy of the country.
Danbatta congratulated the Minister for putting in place a broadband plan for the years 2020 to 2025 after the expiration of the last date.
Also in his goodwill message, Mr Yusuf Kazaure, Managing Director, Galaxy Backbone (GBB) commended the minister and called on the committee to put hands on deck to work together so as to achieve milestones in the public and private sectors.
Kazaure said that he was looking forward to the outcome of the deliberations, adding that it would be the most acceptable plan that would be put on the table for all sectors to benefit.