General

Nigeria takes steps to bridge broadband penetration gap

The Nigerian government says the planned deployment of Television White Space spectrum, TVWSs, will bridge broadband penetration gap in the country.

Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Mr. Isa Pantami stated this in Abuja at the presentation of the Draft Guidelines on the use of Television White Space in Nigeria, noted that broadband penetration is key to digital Economy.

The TV White Space also known as “Super WiFi” refers to TV channels in any given area with a rural connect radio which can be converted into wireless broadband internet and has the ability to connect unconnected people.

He said, the way digital Technology is evolving, the regulator has no time to sleep, saying technology comes with new challenges, therefore, the regulator must be up and doing.

According the Minister “the whole world is about digital Economy ; it is because of this we discovered that you cannot promote digital Economy without broadband and if you look at our un-served and underserved areas, the earlier we reach out to them by providing broadband the better for the digital Economy,” he noted.

Dr. Pantani added that the NCC is collaborating with the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, NBC to ensure the use of TV white space spectrum for broadband in un-served and underserved areas.

“That is why both parastatals, NCC and NBC are working together to ensure we can use TV white space spectrum for broadband in un-served and underserved areas. So this is key to digital Economy. Firstly they are working on regulations (developmental regulations), secondly: solid infrastructure and that is all about broadband,” he said.

He added that has the mandate to deploy broadband so for this reason “the National Frequency Management Council (NFMC) charged both of them to work together to come up with a guide line for the TVWS in order to provide broadband. I think this is key to the digital Economy.”

Meanwhile, the Kaduna state Governor, Mr. Nasir El-Rufai represented by Mrs. Hadiza Usman Mu’az at the event commended the Minister for his visionary leadership.

The Governor also said that Kaduna State will partner with the ministry of communication and digital economy to make the state ICT hub in the northwest.

’’We are looking for strategic partnership with the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to leverage on the potentials of the ministry’’ he said.

The Executive Vice-Chairman, Nigeria Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta said, the gathering is to enable stakeholders to brainstorm at finalising the draft Guidelines on the deployment of the TVws technology in the country.

Professor Umar explained that his agency will strive to bridge the digital divide in the country “to this end, we aimed at increasing broadband penetration and also promoting connectivity to the rural areas’’ he said.

Danbatta added that one of the initiatives is collaboration with NBC to explore the use of TVWS in the sub 1 GHz band for rural broadband connectivity also, exploring the possibility of licensing of the TVWS Spectrum.

Source: Voice of Nigeria