Leo Stan Ekeh, Chairman of Zinox Group has said that improved broadband penetration hold the key to wealth creation that will unlock huge opportunities for millions of Nigerians.
Broadband, generally regarded as high speed Internet services have become topical on the agenda of discussions at national and global levels because they are considered crucial to the way we live, work and play.[su_quote cite=”Leo Stan Ekeh, Chairman of Zinox Group”]With increased deployment of broadband and more equitable access for the majority, huge opportunities will be created for self-development in the country. Just consider the effect this will have on the cost of doing business and the unlimited resources it will place at our disposal. Presently, a lot of people do not see these opportunities due to the current infrastructural challenges being faced in the sector and the slow pace of ICT uptake in Nigeria[/su_quote]
“With increased deployment of broadband and more equitable access for the majority, huge opportunities will be created for self-development in the country. Just consider the effect this will have on the cost of doing business and the unlimited resources it will place at our disposal. Presently, a lot of people do not see these opportunities due to the current infrastructural challenges being faced in the sector and the slow pace of ICT uptake in Nigeria,” Ekeh, who owns Nigeria’s technology giant, Zinox, told a telecoms event organized by Nokia Networks in Lagos.
The Chairman of Zinox says that broadband has the potential of creating wealth and unlocking huge opportunities for millions of Nigerians, while fast-tracking the nation’s economic development.
Enhanced broadband access will equip majority of Nigerians with the freedom to succeed in today’s digital society, says Ekeh, who was Chairman of the conference. According to him, Nigeria’s population and cultural realities make the country a potentially lucrative market for broadband deployment. But a synergy of the government and the private sector will be needed to make that a reality.
“We must up the tempo because the market is a very huge one. The digital divide must be bridged and access must become a basic human right for everyone in this country. Government has a critical role to play in this regard. With liberalized band-width allocation, investor-friendly policies and enabling environment for private sector involvement, the multiplier effect of broadband deployment is unquantifiable and will rapidly transform Nigeria into a digital economy.”
Ekeh whose Zinox Technologies has deployed some of the biggest ICT projects in the country, encouraged the participants to see the current challenges as temporary obstacles which will be surmounted with time, noting that Nigeria is a prime investment destination on the continent.
But he cited that infrastructural deficiencies, security issues, multiple taxation and poor network quality remain some of the factors hampering mobile broadband operators in Nigeria.
The conference, with the theme Connect Nigeria: Exploring ICT potential for growth, featured a panel discussion involving representatives of major players in the industry including Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Matt Wilshire; Managing Director, Airtel Nigeria, Mr. Segun Ogunsanya; MTN’s Corporate Services Executive, Mr. Wale Goodluck and Nokia’s Head of Central, East and West African sub-region, Mr. David Gaul.
In their submissions, the panelists were unanimous that Nigeria was overdue for 3G/LTE deployment in view of the massive opportunities it holds for unleashing human capital development. However, government intervention in eliminating impediments such as the high cost of broadband infrastructure deployment, spectrum allocation and issues with Right of Way, were also deemed crucial to this initiative.
Also speaking at the event, Mr. Bernard Najm, Head of Middle East and Africa, Nokia Networks said the company would support Nigeria’s broadband strategy by providing operators with affordable 3G/LTE technology and global expertise to build and run the networks efficiently.