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Pantami seeks cheaper internet services for Nigerians(Details)



The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, on Thursday disclosed the plans of the federal government to make the Internet cheaper and more affordable.

Pantami, who disclosed this on Thursday at the 10th edition of the Nigerian Internet Governance Forum organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission held in Abuja, added that government was working to ensure that the average price of broadband goes down to enable low income earners afford it.

The Minister said the issues responsible for increased cost of production such as tax, RoW and the security of Information Communication and Technology infrastructures were being addressed.

“There is a lot to be done in terms of broadband penetration because as it is today, in rural communities, only 10 per cent globally have access to fixed broadband infrastructure.

“Because of this, we are working to ensure that broadband infrastructure is accessible and affordable in the rural communities. It is for this reason that most of our policies are arranged to address the challenges that make the internet expensive.

“Average price of broadband in 2019 was 1200 per linear but now has dropped by more than 50 per cent, it is around 500.

“To me this is not sufficient. We must continue to work to ensure the average price of broadband goes down so that low income earners can afford it.

“In addition, we have been addressing the issue that increases the cost of production. Before now the charges for RoW was 6000 per linear metre now has dropped by more than 98 per cent, some states charge as low as 145.

“One of the issues preventing our service providers from lowering the price of broadband.

“Also, Mr. President has directed the office of the Nigerian Security Adviser to give protection to all ICT infrastructures for free. This lowers the cost of production.

“We are also engaging with the ministry of finance, Governors Forum and the Federal Economic Council to address the issue of multiple taxation and we have recorded tremendous success.” Pantami said.

Also speaking, Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Umar Danbatta said the forum provided a forum to express the Commission’s commitment to promote the Internet as a tool for personal and national development

He added that it also presented an opportunity for all stakeholders to actively participate and make contributions to the development and governance of the Internet in Nigeria.

According to him, the NIGF 2021 outcome was expected to build consensus among stakeholders on actionable recommendations for both state and non-state actors in the internet ecosystem.

“It will also focus on engaging the multi-stakeholder nature of the Forum to harness and aggregate productive ideas towards brainstorming the national Digital Economy policies by the Nigerian government.

“The NIGF platform encourages various opinions and views on best practices that will shape and influence Nigeria’s Internet policies and decisions.

“Output of this forum will be published on the NIGF website, and it would also be shared with the Academia, the civil society and all stakeholders for adoption and implementation as applicable.” Danbatta explained.

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