The Nigerian Internet environment is characterised by poor infrastructure and low broadband penetration, Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu, has said. Shittu said this at a stakeholders’ workshop in Abuja, according to a statement made available to our correspondent on Wednesday, 3rd of April 2019.
The Minister noted that the Internet space had been characterised by high cost of access, low broadband penetration and poor Internet infrastructure as well as the poor enabling environment. He said that the solution to the challenges was beyond the Government’s intervention and urged more Nigerians to participate in the global digital economy, private organisations and international partners to support the Government in different strategic ways.
Shittu said that there was a need to sensitise and create necessary awareness within and outside the public service on the Public Internet Access Policy and its implication for national development. The minister said that issues such as deployment models, availability, accessibility, infrastructure sharing, affordability, relevance, online safety, data security, governance, pervasiveness, equal access, standardisation, broadband, infrastructure rollout, and right of way were new challenges confronting the nation on a daily basis.
He stated that one of the models adopted recently was the provision of free Internet access by Public Internet Access Providers in strategic locations to help more Nigerians connect to the Internet in pursuit of social and developmental objectives for a return on investment through advertisement or other means.
Shittu said that Public Internet Access was expected to create jobs and help local Small and Medium Enterprises to compete with global brands adding that the security of the user in the transmission of information was of paramount importance to the Government.
He said, “It is in the light of these that the National Information Technology Development Agency will come up with the framework and guidelines on the provision and use of public Internet access in Nigeria.”
In her speech, the Country Director, Google, Juliet Ehimuan, said that the company was working with key stakeholders in the ICT sector to support many Nigerians to take advantage of the digital platform to empower themselves and enable homegrown entrepreneurs to play a key role in the development of the economy. She added that Google would provide and support African technological start-ups to the value of $3M over three years from 2017 through a programme called Launchpad African Accelerator.