The Federal Government is set to address key challenges of ICT penetration in rural and underserved areas of the country through the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF).
Dr Omobola Johnson, Minister of Communications Technology, who also doubles as Chairman of the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) Board, who dropped the hint says the Fund will offer quicker service deployment in areas that are usually not commercially-viable for regular service providers.
The CommTech Minister, who spoke at a forum organised by USPF to unveil its new website and launch of the clusters of ICT Gap, said the government’s plan was to use USPF as a vehicle to fast-track ICT access and address other issues affecting both data and voice services availability.
The USPF, a body set up by the Nigerian Communications Commission to promote the growth of ICT connectivity in the rural areas, is to ensure the implementation of the development of a Strategic Management Plan 2013-2017 for the ICT industry.
According to her, USPF will utilise these clusters to identify target areas, define universal access service (UAS) interventions and map the interventions to the appropriate communities.
“We will also share the results of the study with the Telecoms Operators to enable them get a detailed view of the needs and demands of the market and assist them in developing roll out plans for these unreached areas”, she adds.
Johnson said USPF seek industry inputs that will define the direction of the Fund’s activities and also enable interactions between the stakeholders and key players in the telecoms market on how best to implement its strategic plan.
“As we forge ahead, our greatest wish is to continue to collaborate with the telecom operators to closing access gap in the country and set Nigeria on the path of being a full digitalized nation. We trust that we can rely on you to continue to be our trusted partners in deploying and delivering sustainable and impactful projects” the Minister says.