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ITU calls for Nigerian broadband policy

July 1, 2011 • Mobile and Telecoms

The International Telecommunications Union's headquarters in Geneva

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has urged Nigeria to commence the process to formulate a policy on broadband to prevent any possible disconnection in the emerging global broadband explosion.

ITU Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun Tourégave, says the need for multi-sectoral plans towards broadband development cannot be over-emphaised, as this would enhance full utilisation and expansion of the resources.

Toure says in order to optimise the benefits to society, broadband should be coordinated on a countrywide basis, promoting facilities-based competition and with policies that will encourage service providers to offer access on fair market terms, while efforts should be coordinated across all sectors of industry, administration and the economy.

“Developing isolated projects or piecemeal, duplicated networks is not only inefficient, it delays provision of infrastructure that is becoming as crucial in the modern world as roads or electricity supplies,” says Toure.

On job creations, ITU revealed that broadband could create more than two million jobs by 2015.

In Nigeria, operators including MainOne cable company, Globacom’s Glo1, NITEL’s SAT 1 and MTN’s WACS are already making the facility available for use, with the landing of various submarine cables.

Touré says “History has witnessed many declarations of independence. But in today’s interconnected world we might propose a new ‘Declaration of Inter-dependence’, a recognition that the economic welfare of each individual country increasingly depends on access to the rest of the world through broadband Internet.”

According to him, offering much more than faster access to web pages, broadband networks are a crucial element of the ‘Internet of Things’, by which ordinary inanimate objects communicate with one another using technologies like RFID, without the need for human intervention.

Broadband cost

ITU in a recent findings show that, on average, consumers are paying 50 per cent less for high-speed Internet connections than they were two years ago.

However, this fall is mainly due to price decreases in developing countries, with steep declines often reflecting the extremely high cost of broadband in the developing world.

The top places with the cheapest broadband prices relative to average national monthly income are all high-income economies: Monaco, Macau (China), Liechtenstein, the U.S. and Austria.

Customers in 31 countries, all of them highly industrialised nations, pay only the equivalent of 1 percent or less of average monthly GNI per capita for an entry-level broadband connection.

At the other end of the scale, in 19 countries, a broadband connection costs more than 100 percent of monthly GNI per capita.

And in a handful of developing countries the monthly price of a fast Internet connection is still more than 10 times monthly average income.

By: Bimbo Omitooki

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