Wednesday , December 1 2021

WiFi, ICT infrastructure are government responsibilities – Experts



Expert in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has saddle government with the responsibility of making WiFi, ICT infrastructure in the country rights and privileges to be benefited by the citizens.

This charge was made at the Nigeria ICT Impact CEO Forum organized by ICT Watch Magazine themed “Connecting the Unconnected”, held in Lagos.

According to the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Bitflux Communications, Engr. Lekan Balogun, critical ICT infrastructure should not be seen as an expense to the private sector because it is virtually impossible for them to bridge digital divide.

Balogun noted that the whole world is currently experiencing a technological shift where everything is being digitalized, therefore, having a wireless internet connection as citizens right has come to stay.

Addressing the topic “City Wide Wireless Internet WiFi for the Masses”, Balogun stated that there is no free Internet because there is always someone paying for it.

He argued that as billions were spent to man the country’s oil rigs, it was expedient for government to spend such in the technology advancement like getting infrastructure for free WiFi

“Having a city wide wireless internet WiFi cannot be a commercial activity as the person that introduces it will need to make money from it and will require infrastructure to run it effectively”.

He also highlighted that the private sector could not go into building such because of the enormous amount it would require and the infrastructure involved.

“We need to understand that free WiFi is not free because someone is paying for it and the question we need to ask also who is paying for it.

“If WiFi is left in the hands of the private sector, it will not work effectively because of the infrastructure that it needs.

“Government has the responsibility for creating an enabling environment to make this to happen,” he said.

Balogun said that to make this happen, there was the need to engage competent Internet service provider (ISP) that would run and operate the WiFi.

He noted that there were efforts to bridge digital gap in the country by some organisations with the building of hotspots and WiFi in many areas but that more was needed.

He also advocated a synergy between the government and the private sector to help in building a city wide wireless internet WiFi.

On his part, the President Medallion Communications, Engr. Ikechukwu Nnamani said the transformative potential of the digital economy cannot be overemphasized.

“The Digital age is replacing the traditional areas of opportunities and it impact has been significantly felt on Nigeria economy.

Nnamani stated digitalization has positively impact all sectors of Nigeria economy and has greatly reduced unemployment.

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Speaking on the numerous advantages brought by harnessing digital economy, he admonished Federal Government to look beyond the present to the future by putting necessary ICT infrastructure in place.

“Building critical ICT infrastructure as a right is also a form of investment that its reward in the next 20 years cannot be imagined.

“Digital economy is cheaper, safer, timely and more efficient ”, Nnamani addressed.

The Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of Digital Encode Limited, Seyi Akindehinde represented Kolawole Oyedeji stated broadband and internet have been globally acknowledged and inextricably linked as the foundation for a sustainable economy and an enabler for sustainable development for wealth optimization, job creation and revenue increase..

Akindehinde affirmed that internet broadband penetration in Nigeria has powered the different Smart City initiatives and support High Definition (HD) streaming on multiple devices.

In his welcome address, the Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Akeredolu, urged the private sector on the need for purposeful engagement with government to ensure a bridge of digital divide.

According to Akeredolu, who was represented by Mr Akinkugbe Olumbe, says the state government is taking a close look on the issues of right of way.

He said efforts were also aimed at mitigating broadband penetration in order to deliver more services to the people of the state.

“A lot of things mentioned here are around policy and thus,the need for the engagement with government which will also ensure people are carried along.

“The topic of the forum is timely, a lot of people are cut off from the world due to not having access to the internet.

“To bridge this gap should be a thing of concern for all stakeholders and the Ondo government has started with its Digital Village project targeted at youths,” he said.


About Bukola Olanrewaju

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