By Kester Omu
A group known as Broadband 2018 Coalition has expressed worries and concerns over Nigeria’s decline on the broadband adoption and internet use index: Affordability Drivers Index (ADI), which presently ranked the country 13th place out of 58 countries surveyed from 12th place ranking Nigeria earned in the 2015-16 Index in the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4aI) 2017 report.
In a statement, the group believes that the poor rollout of broadband infrastructure in tandem with the Nigeria Broadband Plan 2013 – 2018, is largely responsible for the drop, urging the federal government to expedite action in the implementation of the plan.
“We are worried that Nigeria is losing stem in its Broadband quest, which has played an outsized role in transforming societies and economic opportunities across the world, facilitating education and knowledge dissemination, enabling trade and commerce and contributing to growing entrepreneurship across the world. We therefore call for a speedy execution of broadband infrastructure across Nigeria,” the statement added.
It said the National Broadband Plan (2013-2018), submitted by the presidential committee on broadband in 2013 should be diligently implemented to spur economic growth and help Nigeria prepare for a post-oil economy.
Quoted the Minister, Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations, Mr. Bolaji Akinremi, who had said that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is key to Nigeria’s quest towards attaining a sustainable development by 2030 when he delivered Nigeria’s statement on ‘ICT for Development’ at the UN General Assembly, the Coalition said it is concerned at this decline, reiterating the fact that every 10 per cent increase in broadband growth in developing countries, results in a commensurate increase of 1.3 per cent in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and stressed the criticality now that Nigeria is trying to come out of a recession.
The group is raising concerns about the implementation status of the National Broadband Plan and wondering why the government has provided no updates on their plans.
The National Broadband plan was developed by a Presidential Committee chaired by the National Coordinator, A4AI Nigeria and former Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe and Zenith Bank Chairman, Jim Ovia, supported by major Information Technology (IT) industry players from within and outside Nigeria.