By Chiazo Ogbolu
Lagos – The Nigeria Information Technology Reporters’ Association (NITRA) says there should be concerted efforts by all stakeholders to overcome broadband challenges.
The President of the association, Mr Emma Okonji, gave the advice on Thursday in Lagos.
Okonji said that the challenges confronting broadband penetration and proffering ways of tackling such challenges were of essence for stakeholders to discuss.
According to him, these challenges and remedies will be discussed at the association’s quarterly forum.
“All is now set for the fourth and last in the series of this year’s NITRA quarterly forum billed for Dec. 14, at Ikeja, Lagos.
“NITRA, under the supervision of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, is an umbrella body for journalists reporting Information and Communications Technology in Nigeria.
“In collaboration with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), NITRA promises to address the challenges of broadband, especially with last mile connectivity at this fourth quarter forum.
“The Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, will be the keynote speaker at the event expected to draw the largest gathering of ICT industry players under one roof.
“Themed: `Achieving Last Mile Connectivity Through Affordable Broadband,’ the forum will not only highlight the opportunities and challenges of deploying affordable broadband in Nigeria but will look at the strategies being adopted by the NCC to achieve this, ‘’ Okonji said in a statement.
The NITRA president said that experts had always argued that in order to address Nigeria’s last mile connectivity, it was important that the government creates incentives that would encourage telcos to invest in connectivity in rural areas and other less-profitable regions.
He noted that achieving last mile connectivity in Nigeria, therefore, required concerted efforts among government, civil society organisations, policy makers, mobile operators, service providers, academia, among others.
Okonji said that it also required a combination of solutions ranging from policies to technologies, transparency to regulations, among others.
“Recall that the NCC had in 2016, rolled out an eight-point agenda aimed at broadband access and penetration.
“ Through the agenda, the NCC hopes to promote deployment of universally-available, fast and reliable network infrastructure that will stimulate seamless broadband penetration to drive technology innovation and overall productivity of Nigeria’s economy.
“In the last two years, NITRA has through the quarterly forum engaged ICT stakeholders to brainstorm on various topical issues affecting the ICT industry in Nigeria,’’ he said.