Executive Commissioner Okechukwu Itanyi; Board Chairman Peter Igoh and NCC Executive Vice Chairman Dr Eugene Juwah

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr Eugene Juwah, says Nigeria’s second revolution in data will have a significant effect on the banking sector as it will eliminate the expensive branch networks, adding that things are happening without people taking notice.

Juwah, who spoke at the 76th Edition of Telecoms Consumer Parliament (TCP) at Oriental Hotel, Lekki, Lagos, with Data Service Delivery: The Way Forward as its theme, said the world is fast changing, lamenting that many people seem not to be realising it.

He said: “The banking sector is the sector that will be most affected’ by the data revolution that will sweep across the sector. It will eliminate branch banking and allow the road side mechanic who is afraid of going to the bank to do banking transaction on the mobile phone.”

Juwah told the well attended second edition of the repackaged TCP that it was now a fact that Nigeria was the fastest growing telecommunications market in Africa since the deregulation of the industry, adding that the transformation of telecom industry had led to a phenomenal increase in foreign direct investments (FDI), employment, and efficient business transactions among others. This, he said emphasises the importance of ICT in the development path of a nation.

He said: “Nevertheless, for a country of about 180 million people as at 2014, having more than 130 million subscriber base, we cannot afford to be contented.  ICT remains a priority of the Federal Government and an important sector in the Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration for strong, inclusive, non-inflationary growth using ICT as the major driver for transformation.  Mr. President requires us to ensure that ICT facilities are extended to all citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“In this regard, internet and broadband have been globally acknowledged as the foundation for the nation’s transformation to a knowledge-based economy.”

He said the path to an efficient broadband service in Nigeria has been a long and difficult one; internet connectivity has come a long way from a single international submarine cable system with 340GB total capacity installed in 2001 (SAT3) to four cable systems with international bandwidth capacity of over nine terra bits in 2012.

He said in spite of the progress made, Nigeria is still a far cry from achieving what is considered global broadband standards even among other developing countries.

He said it has become more worrisome the kind of services most service providers sell to their subscribers, all in the name of 3G, while some even canvassed to have 4G but nothing has changed in data services as consumer experience is nothing to write home about.

He said the Commission has taken some steps towards realising effective deployment of broadband services in the country realizing that the world is now a global village and Nigeria cannot afford to be improperly integrated into it. This integration, he argued could be better achieved not only through voice telephony but also effective data service delivery.

“On consolidation of progress made so far, we have increased teledensity from 63 per cent in 2010 to more than 90 per cent in 2014. The NCC is targeting a 30 per cent increase in broadband internet penetration by 2018. The increase from its current level of six per cent is expected to come from the planned historic auction of the 2.6 gigahertz spectrum band,” Juwah said.

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