The maiden edition of the IHS Telecoms Conference 2019 recently held in Lagos brought together in one platform business leaders, regulators, investors, Government, experts and practitioners together, to engage on issues of broadband and power.
The theme of the conference “Power and Telecommunications Synergy: Building Strategic Alliance For Broadband Penetration And Inclusive Prosperity”
Delivering the keynote address at the conference, Executive Vice Chairman of Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, ably represented by Engr. Babangana Digima, highlighted challenges that have stalled the Nigerian Broadband Plan (NBP); Broadband spectrum, multiple taxations, dispute resolution, damages to fibre infrastructure among others.
Considering this, the NCC has identified key prospects for broadband penetration in the nearest future which include:
- All new sites to be LTE compatible, spreading 3G coverage to at least to 80% of the Nigerian population (Currently 56.4% of the population are covered with 3G)
- A complete upgrade of 2G BTS TO 3G, spreading 5G to at least 5% of the population when launched globally
- Spreading 3G/LTE services to 100% of the population with a minimum broadband speed of 1.5 Mbps
- Deploying at least one Access Point of Fibre with a 10 Gbps capacity in all the 774 LGAs of the federation through the InfraCo project
Also speaking at the HIS Telecoms Conference, CO-Founder and CEO of IHS Nigeria, Mohamad Darwish, commenced by briefly stating the history of broadband penetration in Nigeria while also stating the aim of the conference.
“Our dream is to explore the development that cultivates powered solution into the national broadband plan and chart a collaboration that will bring about the broadband plan growth”
“It is our hope that this conference will enable the private sector and the Government to create policies and strategies that will give Nigeria the capacity to increase broadband penetration”
A Three-panel session also took place at the conference;
The first-panel session centred its discussion on the topic, “An integrated approach to power and interconnectivity”.
The panel highlighted the need for on-grid and off-grid considerations by the government at all levels for telecom operators and the shift towards sustainable energy that is cost-efficient for broadband growth in the urban and rural areas of the country.
In addition, the panellist mentioned interconnectivity and technological solutions in the industry as futuristic goals of meeting the broadband targets set by NCC and the implementation of 5G networks when launched in Nigeria.
The second-panel session was on the topic, “Sectoral collaboration: Building sustainable models that drive inclusive growth”.
The panellist mentioned that the growth prospect for the telecoms industry in Nigeria is positive due to the acceptance of broadband services and the need to reach the locations that have little or no coverage.
Also mentioned was the effort made over the years by the Nigerian governments to develop the non-oil sectors of the economy by initiating various supportive policies and incentives aimed at encouraging economic diversification with different degrees of success.
The third-panel discussion focused on, “Broadband infrastructure financing: opportunities, tax incentives and returns”.
The panellist identified the scale of diffusion of mobile wireless broadband technology and its transformational effect across all sectors of the economy cannot be overemphasised.
It enables the creation of new business and product innovation, thereby boosting job creation, as well as raising economic growth and productivity.
This suggests that broadband is a general-purpose technology capable of producing a protracted critical mass effect at a certain threshold of penetration.
Featured Image: A cross-section of some power and broadband stakeholders at the IHS Telecoms Conference 2019
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