By Dipo Olowookere
Head of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mr Umar Garba Danbatta, has disclosed that the agency has approved dedicated spectrum for trial deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) services in the country.
The NCC chief made this disclosure at the maiden Digital African Week organised by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) being hosted by the Commission at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
The four-day conference, which began on Tuesday in conjunction with the Management of ITU-T Study Group 20 (SG20) and Study Group 5 (SG5) Regional Group for Africa Meeting, will allow all stakeholders in the emerging digital space to deliberate on the future technologies in Africa.
Addressing stakeholders at the event, Mr Danbatta acknowledged the evolving trends in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) ecosystem, giving rise to such technologies as Internet of Things (IoT) applications and smart cities and communities (SC&C), among others, saying the Commission was well positioned to jump-start trial of 5G deployment in the country.
“In this regards, we have approved spectrum for the trial of 5G services in the country,” he said, stressing that the licensing of seven infrastructure companies (Infraco) to deploy metro and inter-city fiber and broadband Point of Access with a minimum capacity of 10Gbps across the 774 Local Government Areas of Nigeria, is in line with the 8-point agenda of the Commission for the provision of ubiquitous broadband infrastructures across the country in the Next Level document.
He noted that such a regulatory move is also consistent with Nigeria’s Vision 20:2020, which recognises the importance and imperatives of ICT, as part of the “new world order” and catalyst for sustainable socio-economic development.
The EVC emphasised that in line with its collaboration and strategic partnership drive, the NCC had taken steps to involve members of the academia as strategic stakeholders in its activities towards the development of the telecom sector by harnessing the research potentials in the academia.
“In this regard, the Research and Development Department of the NCC is collaborating with the Universities and other institutions of higher learning to develop the ICT sector.”
While restating the commitment of the NCC to continue to work hard to ensure that all citizens of Nigeria have access to affordable broadband connection irrespective of their circumstances or location, Mr Danbatta said that the digital transformation agenda of the Federal Government is anchored on Availability, Accessibility and Affordability of broadband which the Commission is driving aggressively.
He further informed the audience that Nigeria had not only achieved but exceeded the 30 per cent penetration target set by the National Broadband Plan 2013-2018, saying “At the end of June 2019, our broadband penetration stood at 33.31 per cent.”
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