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Expanded fiber optic infrastructure critical to improved Internet connectivity for consumers ─NCC

*Dr. Aminu Maida, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission, affirms the expansion of fiber optic infrastructure is essential to increase Internet coverage and improve Internet quality for telecoms consumers in the West African country

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has affirmed that effective  fiber optic network remains the backbone of a strong digital economy.

ConsumerConnect reports Dr. Aminu Maida, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of NCC, stated this in this presentation at the recent 2nd West Africa Communications Infrastructure Conference and Exhibition, in Lagos.

Represented at the event by Victor Adoga, Head of Next Generation Technology and Standards  of the Commission, Dr. Maida emphasised the expansion of fiber optic infrastructure as essential to increase Internet coverage and improve internet quality for telecoms consumers in Nigeria.

The EVC/CEO, in his address, also noted the need for industry stakeholders to cultivate a cadre of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) experts capable of navigating the complexities of the digital era in the country’s ecosystem.

Indigenous expertise in maximising new techs

In respect of the application of emerging technologies to advance the Nigeria Digital Economy, Maida stressed the importance of indigenous expertise in effectively adapting the techs paradigms in the country’s ecosystem.

According to him, the advent of 5G Networks is a transformative milestone in communications infrastructure in the Nigerian economy.

He also highlighted the potential of 5G technology to deliver benefits to telecoms consumers.

These, he stated, include enhanced speeds, reduced latency, and expanded capacity to enable a spectrum of innovative applications, including the Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous vehicles, smart cities, and augmented reality.

Maida said: “The future goes beyond 5G. Looking at 6G, one sees an increase in network capabilities and the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into the management of communications activities and services.

“It requires a lot of investment, both in terms of hardware and distribution.

“With the Internet of Things (IoT), everyday objects connect to the internet and collect and share information.”

The 6G revolution will transform industries from agriculture to medicine, making them more efficient and improving health, noted he.

This meant a significant increase in relevant equipment and changes in information management strategies for communications.

He as well said that expansion of fiber optic infrastructure is essential to increase Internet coverage and improve quality of connectivity in Nigeria.

On information security and data protection regulation

In regard to information disclosure and security in the digital ecosystem, Dr. Maida observed as digital services increase, there is also a need to protect and manage the large amounts of information provided.

Strengthening information security measures and establishing local institutions will play an important role in protecting user trust and complying with global data protection regulations, he posited.

Regarding practical measures to instill these processes, he urged collaboration between the government, industry and universities aimed at promoting innovation and development.

Application of PPP model in developing telecoms infrastructure

The NCC Chief also noted that collaborations among the government, industry stakeholders and the academia, could lead to sharing infrastructure models that reduced costs and improved service delivery.

Developing telecoms infrastructure requires capital Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), infrastructure funds, and innovative financing models like Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), could be key to meeting financial demands, Maida stated.

The EVC/CEO of NCC said: “Another thing is to build our infrastructure, and sustainability must be a priority.

“This includes not only environmental considerations but also building systems that are economically and socially sustainable.”

The Executive equally stated: “Integration with AI and Machine Learning (ML) to optimise network management, predict maintenance needs, and enhance customer service through automation and advanced analytics is also necessary.”

Maida stated: “Another strategy is developing smart infrastructure, because as cities become smarter, telecom infrastructure must evolve to support an array of smart city applications, from traffic management systems to public safety solutions.”

X-raying Nigerian telecoms sector

On addressing industry challenges in the country, Dr. Maida disclosed: “We boast of over 219 million mobile subscribers and a burgeoning tech-savvy population eager to harness digital technologies.

“However, while our growth has been remarkable, it has not been without its challenges.”

The EVC/CEO said: “Issues such as uneven service distribution, infrastructural deficits, and regulatory uncertainties have occasionally hindered our progress.

“Yet, each challenge also presented a unique opportunity for growth and innovation.”

The manner of navigating this path would determine the role Nigeria plays in the global digital space, Maida stated.

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