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Ubiquitous broadband access is achievable in Nigeria, says Omo-Ettu

By The Citizen
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Co-ordinator of the Broadband Expansion Programme, Mr. TitiOmo-Ettu, said in Lagos that there is provable optimism to expect Nigeria to close the broadband divide gap in not too far away.

Omo-Ettu, a former president of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), said this was because Nigeria has conquered major hindrance normally caused by lack of understanding on the part of government, stressing that today all of us, including the government, operators and other service providers, are speaking the same voice.

He used historical facts relating to the usual dichotomy between government and the private sector on one hand and between industry activists and investors on the other to show that Nigeria is close to the destination.

According to him, the broadband roadmap is one of the unusual issues on which the government, its agencies, the private sector and industry activists are all saying the same thing and all agree on the direction of travel.

'Our industry liberalisation did not come on a platter of gold. It came by divine intervention because while the military operatives did not agree with all arguments in favour of liberalisation of the telecoms sector, the head of government at the time switched to the side of a campaign for liberalisation and that was the joker that did it. The remaining is now history both the good and the bad,' said Omo-Ettu.

He said that this time around top officials of government are themselves believers while all the agencies of government are part of the positive campaign that Nigerians must have access to broadband resources. He stressed that there was no way the country will not break through once it tidy up on all the minor issues that are being worked upon at the moment.

'Even the military has seen the importance of a broadband regime in the course of the country's development,' said the former ATCON boss.

He used the broadband expansion program itself as a case of agencies of government being in agreement with the private sector as it is a culmination of all that we have been saying at several conferences and summits.

'Somebody just now needs to press some buttons and the gates may just start opening up.'

He explained that the programme is about fashioning a better means of access to funding for the industry players who have the capability to deliver last mile services but are hampered by lack of access to investment and operational funding.

According to him, the program is not a conference but an implementation of conference results, adding that the business workshop component is designed to make all willing and capable service providers to jointly work out how best to take the next move.