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Broadband: FG should consider giving incentives to States to boost penetration- Coker

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As cloud-based application; cloud computing, Internet of Things, Smart City projects and likes are evolving in the Nigerian economy, available and affordable broadband will even push the adoption level, says the Managing Director of Rack Centre, Mr. Ayotunde Coker.

Speaking during an interview in his office, Mr. Coker emphasised that technology will continue to evolve in a fast pace hence Nigeria needs to adopt critical approaches to meet up with the trend.

He said that the increase in cloud-based applications is a huge plus to the data centre business, adding that already Rack Centre has positioned itself to become a leader in that direction.

Mr. Coker said, “One thing is clear- technological development will not wait for any nation or people. To me, Nigeria should and Nigeria can! However, if we do get in the way of making it happen, our policy direction will drive people’s and businesses’ approach to it. For instance, we should adopt a systematic approach to getting broadband access happen. If a State is gearing towards that, let’s grant them some incentives.

FG Incentives to States

Recall, the Federal Government of Nigeria launches a five-year National Broadband Plan meant to accelerate high speed internet and mass broadband access, and as a result, prompt socio-economic growth for the nation and prosperity for its citizens.

At the moment, the plan is said to have achieved over 22 per cent out of the 30 which represents 70 per cent success.

However, many stakeholders still believe that more should be done to incorporate State Governments’ interest to avert impending paucity of broadband availability due to multifaceted challenges, such as high rate of Right of Way (RoW), multiple taxes, lack of funds, amongst others.

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To this end, Mr. Coker believes that the Federal Government can influence State Governments too buy into the national agenda:

“The Federal Government can say if your broadband penetration gets to 50% you State will get incentives. It can happen in such manner that the prize such States will get will compete with whatever revenue they may think they can get from hiking prices of Right-of-Way (RoW) or any other infrastructural levies on telecoms.

“Because it has proven that economies that succeed in adopting technology have the base connectivity around broadband. So, any State in Nigeria that thinks they can develop without necessarily broadband services it is not going to happen.

“We have the population and demographics that shows this thing is bound to happen here. As we put the basics in place, we should be able to keep pace with the technological advancements across the world.

Why?

“People thought mobile telephony won’t be successful in Africa; people won’t be able to afford it. Look at what has happened now- it defied every nay-sayings.

Also, for about three years now the shipments and manufacturing of smartphones has exceeded the number of ‘feature’ phones. I also believe that the largest access to computing is going to be through mobile (phones).

“It is a technology that revolves around security- video cctv (close-circuit television), linking to new technologies that allow the police to be more efficient. These things have to be in a control centre somewhere- a data centre that is available 100% of the time”.

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