Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, says internet access and broadband penetration will become existential in the nearest future and will determine Nigeria’s competitiveness in the global economy.
The vice president said the recognition of the importance of internet access and broadband penetration, among others, was the driving force behind Federal Government’s initiative on broadband connectivity for all.
Mr Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Thursday in Abuja, said the vice president virtually inaugurated the Ogun State Digital Economy Empowerment Project.
“Making digital technology available to all our citizens and businesses is the most farsighted action any government can take today.
“Indeed, access to broadband and other technology tools have become compulsory for any community that seeks meaningful growth, prosperity, and security for its people.
“We must press on in our quest to democratise access to the internet.
“We are pursuing this cause because we recognise that internet access and broadband penetration will become existential in a few short years and will determine our competitiveness in the global economy,” said Mr Osinbajo.
He said that the Federal Government was committed to ensuring broadband connectivity for all by 2023.
The vice president said the ambition on broadband was enshrined in Economic Sustainability Plan.
Mr Osinbajo said as part of the national commitment to make broadband connectivity available to all, in 2017, the state governors under the auspices of the National Economic Council, NEC, agreed to harmonise right of way charges.
“The charges payable by telecommunications companies and related public utility infrastructure on local governments, states and federal highways to encourage co-location of fiber optic cables.
“In another demonstration of Government’s commitment in this regard, the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy launched the National Broadband Plan.
“The plan is designed to deliver data download speeds across Nigeria of a minimum 25Mbps in urban areas and 10Mbps in rural areas, with effective coverage available to at least 90 per cent of the population by 2025 at affordable prices.
“The plan gives special attention to unserved and underserved areas in the distribution of telecom services.
“Many States have already complied with the right of way policy and have reduced the rates to as low as N140 per meter, while some States have completely removed the charges,” the Vice President said.
He commended the Ogun state government for taking leadership in digital technology in Nigeria.
Mr Osinbajo said by bringing last mile broadband access to homes, businesses, and offices in the state, the government was opening up the state, residents and businesses digitally not just to Nigeria but to the entire universe.
He said improving access to broadband would provide an opportunity for young Nigerian innovators to take on their peers from across the world on a more level playing field.
The Ogun Digital Economy Empowerment Project is an initiative of the state government in collaboration with 21st Century Technologies aimed at providing digital infrastructure to enhance broadband connectivity across the state.
Aside Gov. Dapo Abiodun, and state dignitaries, former governor of the state, Gbenga Daniel, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, among others were at the inauguration.