Nigerian leaders in Information Technology (IT) have said the government is largely to blame for not investing in greater broadband Internet. They said at a conference on Thursday that the federal government should be held responsible for what they said was the low data penetration in the country.
The forum challenged the government to push forward with a number of initiatives and compared the country’s efforts, and failures, to South Korea, which currently leads the world in broadband development.
IT leaders at the forum said South Korea has invested “more than $40 billion in broadband infrastructure and deployment in the last few years, with a zeal [sic] to invest more.”
Jamal Abouye, a Nigerian ministry of communications official, said that the criticism from the conference “would be taken seriously” and that his government is looking “for all the right ways to increase our capabilities.”
Addressing stakeholders at the Internet Forum organised by Communications Week newspaper in Lagos, Chairman of the forum Gbenga Adebayo, who doubles as the Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), said although Nigeria remained one of the biggest and fastest growing telecoms market in Africa, attracting huge foreign direct investments to the country over the last ten years, Nigeria’s data access penetration is low because of lack of government’s investment in broadband, which is the major boost for data access and penetration.
According to Adebayo, “Far-reaching liberalization in the area of voice telephony has led to several companies providing virtually all kinds of telecom and value-added services; but because of the high cost and complexities of providing data communications, not many players are able to invest in data networks.”