CTO counsels NCC on broadcasting, BPO
By Lukas Ajanaku, Lagos, Nigeria
The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), has counseled the regulator of Nigeria's telecoms sector, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on its all-important role in the transition of the country from analogue to digital broadcasting and the business process outsourcing/ information technology enabled services (BPO/ITES), which it says is a potential cash-cow if properly explored.
According to a paper presented by the CTO at a stakeholders' forum focused on 'Harnessing Communications Technology as a Catalyst for National Development’ convened in Lagos, the NCC has a central role to play in the transition considering the responsibilities the constitution of the country has vested in it.
On the digital broadcasting switchover, it said: “The NCC has a central role in ensuring a smooth transition from analogue to digital by the 2015 deadline, based on its mandate to ensure an efficient management including planning, coordination, allocation, assignment, registration, monitoring and use of scarce national resources in the communications sub-sector, including but not limited to frequency spectrum.”
According to the CTO, the intricacies of the switchover such as re-arranging the spectrum allocations, managing the costs to the consumers and reaping the digital dividend, makes it incumbent on NCC to control the process firmly.
The body identified the key aspects NCC may wish to specifically focus on as a part of a national plan for the digital broadcast switchover to include:
- strategies to assist the public make the transition including financing of Set Top Boxes and the promotion of new and novel services
- utilising the freed-up spectrum;
- creating an environment for the uptake of digital terrestrial television by households, including the poor;
- ensuring the future of the existing broadcasting services and introducing new services,
- taking into account the gap related to provincial content; providing a framework for the provision of community television and mobile broadcasting services;
- creating an environment for television services in more local languages; and the development of the creative industries
“The CTO believes that all of the above should feature as important elements in the NCC’s plans to use ICTs to support national development, and would be happy to advise further should this be required,” it averred.
On BPO/ITES sector, the CTO noted that this is increasingly a focus of national planners for economic growth. India is one of the leading BPO destinations, while Sri Lanka has set a BPO revenue target of USD1 billion by 2015.
Recently, both Ghana and Kenya have launched studies to map out strategies to promote their BPO/ITES sectors. Ovum estimates that the global BPO sector will reach USD93.4 billion in 2015.
“In that context it makes immense sense for Nigeria to consider promoting this sector. If the country decides to do so, the CTO is in a position to feed in to the policy and regulation development drawing on the lessons of a number of global BPO/ITES leaders such as India, Sri Lanka and Mauritius,” CTO noted in its submission at the event.
CTO is an international development partnership between Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth governments, business and civil society organisations that provides the international community with effective means to help bridge the digital divide and achieve social and economic development, by delivering to developing countries unique knowledge-sharing programmes in the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the specific areas of telecommunications, IT, broadcasting and the Internet.