By Bukola Olanrewaju and Bakare Idris
The Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Mr. Olusola Teniola, has said the non-governmental organization is set to enhance Broadband and Technology Investment Forum in all the 36 states of the federation.
The move according to the association is to ensure there is high broadband penetration in Nigeria and to contribute a meaningful quota to technological development in Nigeria.
According to him the forum will ensure to bring broadband benefits to the doorsteps of the governors, State Commissioners for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and their citizens in the communities, informing them that broadband can serve to improve their lives.
Teniola made this known in a statement when his team visited the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Danbatta in Abuja.
He noted that ATCON is passionate about making sure that broadband penetration in Nigeria becomes high.
To earmark this feat, he posited that, “the strategic objective of this initiative is to promote greater awareness about the state’s technology and broadband investments potential, identify viable technology investment projects for both private and public sectors.
“It is also to increase government and private investments and spending in broadband infrastructure”, Teniola said.
Speaking further, he stated that education, awareness and local buy-in is an important part to overall broadband adoption.
NewsDirect gathered that the Forum will first be staged in three states – Kano, Akwa Ibom and Osun.
According to Teniola, the three chosen states is the beginning of ATCON’s advocacy in engaging the states to fully adopt broadband and thereafter others will follow.
However experts in ICT industry has reckoned that Broadband is a right to the citizens. On his part, Teniola stressed that in some parts of the world, broadband is treated as a right.
“But here in Nigeria, we have 192 markets gaps and other gaps where this right has not been fully fulfilled”, he told NewsDirect.
In addition, Teniola sought the assistance of NCC on the issue of multiple taxations, adding that the telecom companies at the moment were facing 38 different taxations.
“And this does not come from the telecom regulator as it comes especially from the ministry of finance and the ministry needs to harmonize the taxes faced by the industry as it serves as a disincentive to roll out broadband services.
“Without our ability to attract investment to actually roll out broadband infrastructure, then, we have consumers who are not benefiting from the digital benefit that exist in the cities.
“We need the taxes to be removed to encourage investment”, he urged.