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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Nigerian state looks to activate digital economy with broadband project

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Ekiti State government has said a 606-kilometer broadband infrastructure it is working on would generate healthy competition within the ICT sector as well as boost the state’s internet penetration from 16 percent to 90 percent.

The project is said to be worth N5 billion with the Federal Government contributing N1.1 billion of the total sum. For the execution, the state government has an agreement with O’odua Infraco Resources Limited, a consortium that develops high speed and efficient Fibre Optic Cable (FOC) Open Access Network (OAN) across the Southwest region of Nigeria.

Speaking on the project, the Managing Director of O’odua, Sammy Adigun, said it will be officially flagged off in October and completed within 14 months according to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the company and state governor Kayode Fayemi.

The broadband project is a follow up to the recent crash of Right of Way charges from N4,500 to N145 per meter for broadband infrastructure, which is part of the five pillars of governor Fayemi’s digital economy and digital education.

The governor noted that the execution of the project, as well as the broadband policy in the state would be coordinated and supervised by a Digital Infrastructural Committee, made up of various relevant government institutions critical to the implementation of the project.

“For us, the roadmap is first the fibre connectivity itself, the second is the adequate data center infrastructure, the third is the e-learning programme which will cover our educational institutions, then our safe city, our security programme will also be included,” he said.

Explaining further, Fayemi said with the geographical land information system (GIS) of the state, it expects to digitize all records, commercial investment, and even digitalization of all government assets and health education initiatives.

Similarly, the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) and Infracos early this year raised a total sum of N265 billion expected to be used for the development of broadband across the country in the next four years. The aim was to get rid of infrastructural deficits in the telecommunications sector, catalysing socio-economic transformation of the country.

A statement made by the Vice-Chairman of NCC, Umar Danbatta says that upon the successful completion of the broadband in the next four years, the country would have been transformed in multiple ways, especially in managing energy, education, transportation, the environment and meeting some of the Sustainable Development Goals. With the desirability of the new development, it is with hope to see the financial inclusion rate increase significantly as well as mobile money services, Dandatta added.

By Ahmed Iyanda.

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