Infrastructure critical to innovation, says NCC

THE Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Tuesday stressed the need to put in place a very robust telecoms infrastructure so that innovation could flourish.

Speaking at 2019 Nigeria Innovation Summit in Sheraton Hotels, Ikeja, Lagos, its Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, Prof Garba Danbatta, said innovation will drive economic growth.

Represented by Director, Research & Development at NCC, Mr.  Ephraim Nwokenneya, the telecoms chief regulator, said: “It is instructive to note that for innovation to thrive towards accelerating economic growth, robust telecoms/broadband infrastructure upon which ICT innovations will ride, is a necessity.”

He said the theme of the forum: Accelerating Nigeria’s Economic Growth through Innovation was apt, stressing that the NCC, through effective regulatory efforts, has been able to deepen connectivity in the country.

“As at June, 2019, internet connections in the country have reached over 122 million, with over 63.5 million of this figure connected to broadband networks of 3G and 4G, which represents a 33.31 percent broadband penetration.

“Our commitment is to more than double this penetration level in the next five years, as we increase collaboration and partnership with necessary stakeholders towards making a new broadband target that may be set by the Federal Government a reality. Last year, the country was able to attain and surpass its initial 30 per cent broadband penetration target set in its National Broadband Plan (NBP) 2013-2018 by December, 2018,” Danbatta said.

He said the race for infrastructure deployment is a global race, arguing that recent happenings across the globe showed that infrastructure is receiving attention at the highest level of government in developed economies. He said this is because any nation that wants to develop must do this in a digitally-enabled framework.

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