The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali-Pantami, said that the digital economy plan launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday aimed at extending broadband penetration to 90 per cent of Nigerians in five years.
“This plan aims at providing broadband for 90 per cent of Nigerians over the next five years at download rates of 25Mbps in urban areas and 10 Mbps in rural areas.
“The plan aims for a maximum price of N390 per gigabyte of data,” he explained.
This was at the inauguration of four projects of the ministry, including the Nigerian Communication Commission, NCC, Annex, at Mbora district of Abuja by President Buhari.
Mr Pantami said the project of digitisation was imminent at the instance of corona virus outbreak in Nigeria.
Mr Pantami said that the projects were in line with the revised mandate of the ministry as a result of its redesignation, adding that they also aligned with the priorities of the Federal Government.
He said that the implementation of the broadband would support the diversification efforts of the government.
He further explained that digital economy was heavily reliant on the availability of cost effective broadband, among others.
“The unfortunate realities of the COVID-19 has made it imperative to build and depend on a sector of the economy that is more resilient to global economic shocks than the oil sector,” he said.
On his part, Executive vice chairman, NCC , Prof. Umar Danbatta reiterate that with the Federal Government’s support, increasing broadband penetration would facilitate the efficiency of the Emergency Communication centre, ECC, and development of digital innovation.
Mr Danbatta described the launch of the projects as a reflection of growth and development in the Information Communications Technology, ICT, sector.
He said that the projects commenced with the National Telecom Policy and the full liberalisation of the telecommunications industry.
According to him, the NCC has also facilitated the establishment of the Emergency Communications Centres, ECC, across the Country.
“The establishment of the ECCs is in line with the Commission’s mandate under section 107 of NCA 2003, to promote and enhance public safety through the use of a particular number designed as the universal safety.
“Consequently, the NCC allocated the Toll-Free 3-digit number ‘112’ as the Universal Emergency Communications telephone number in Nigeria.
“Through this dedicated number, members of the public can conveniently access help when in distress by simply dialling 112 from any of the networks at no cost.
“This toll-free number can help distressed persons access help from the Police, the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Fire and Ambulance Services, National Emergency Management Agency.”
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the projects include: unveiling of Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020-2025, official commissioning of the communications centre and 112 toll-free number,
There was also the flag off of the digital inovation and entrepreneurship training.
NAN also reports that the ministry has commenced the establishment of an Emergency Communications Centre (ECC) in each of the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) .