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CITAD urges stakeholders to bridge digital divide

The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), has called on stakeholders in public and private sectors to seek ways of bridging digital divides in under-served communities.

The Executive Director CITAD Yunusa Zakari Ya’u, while speaking in Abuja, at a “partnership building meeting on community networks In Nigeria” maintained that promoting digital inclusion would enhance speedy connectivity and sustainable development.

The discussions which centred on ways of providing internet and communication access to under-served areas, was expected to bring government, private sectors and CSOs to chat better ways of ensuring that every Nigeria enjoys good internet connection.

“We recognize that a lot of Nigerians have limited access to the internet, and this is work of commercial companies. who are also eager to make profit, and that is one major reason they will not go to areas where profit is not assured, while people living in such areas are excluded from internet benefits”.

Ya’u further emphasized on the need for a national policy on community networks as this would facilitate licensing and regulations; “The USPF was established precisely to bridge the communication gap in the country so that under-served communities are included, however it has not been fully implemented”

In his presentation Executive Director, Initiative For Digital Inclusion (IDI) Osondu Nwokoro stressed the need for optimal Last Mile Connectivity (LMC). “So, you know everything is about policy, there should be an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. The regulators, like NCC, Ministry of Communication must be proactive as well”.

He however advised small scale operators to review their structural mechanism “ they need to upskill, understand the role of governance in digital communication, have board meetings where some of this issues are equally addressed”.

“A section of the NCC Act, section 108 says the Universal Service Provision Fund an arm of the NCC is supposed to support service provision in rural and unserved areas, this should be activated”. He added.

Reporting by Julian Osamoto; Editing by Oluwaseyi Ajibade