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‘Deployment of TV White Space tech will boost Nigeria’s economy’

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[files] Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Mallam Isa Ali Pantami. Photo; TWITTER/ FMoCDENigeria

The Federal Government has said that the proposed deployment of Television White Space (TVWS) spectrum for broadband in un-served and underserved areas is targeted at boosting Nigeria’s digital economy drive.

TV White Space also is known as Super WiFi refers to unused television channels in any given area. With a rural connect radio, these vacant channels can be converted into wireless broadband Internet. This innovative technology has the ability to connect the world’s unconnected people.

Speaking during the presentation of Draft Guidelines on the use of Television White Space in Nigeria, yesterday in Abuja, Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Mallam Isa Ali Pantami, said that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) are working on the development of regulations and solid infrastructure to provide Super ‘WiFi’ in un-served and underserved areas.”

Pantami said the whole world is about the digital economy, “it is because of this we discovered that you cannot promote digital economy without broadband. If you look at our un-served and underserved areas, the earlier we reach out to them by providing broadband, the better for the digital economy and that is why both parastatals are coming together on this project. NCC has a mandate of broadband penetration in Nigeria and TV White Space being used today is broadband, particularly to penetrate un-served and the underserved areas.”

The minister noted that the National Frequency Management Council (NFMC) had charged NCC and NBC to work together, and come up with a guideline for the TVWS in order to provide broadband to remote areas of the country.

He said: “The way digital technology is evolving, the regulators have no time to sleep. Technology comes with new challenges, therefore, the regulators must sit up, and be up and doing.”

Earlier at the meeting, the Executive Vice-Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said that a draft of the regulatory framework for TVWS is almost concluded.

Danbatta explained that the gathering was convened by the Commission in collaboration with the NBC for stakeholders to brainstorm at finalising the Draft Guidelines on the deployment of the TVWS technology in Nigeria.

He said: “the Commission has remained resolute in efforts towards bridging the digital divide between strata of our society. To this end, it has over the years, evolved initiatives not only aimed at increasing broadband penetration, but also promoting connectivity to the rural areas. One of such initiatives is this collaboration with NBC to explore the use of TVWS in the sub 1GHz band for rural broadband connectivity, while also exploring the possibility of licensing of the TVWS spectrum.

We are also here to further listen to comments and feedback on the draft document towards its eventual finalisation and operationalisation.”

Also speaking, Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, said the state was working on strategic partnership with the private sector to improve broadband access to government schools, hospitals and private investments.

Represented by the Special Adviser on Inter-Government Affairs, Hadiza Usman Mu’az, the governor said: “Kaduna State is actively looking for partnerships. We are looking for a strategic partnership with the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to see how we can improve on that to leverage on the potential in the agencies under the ministry and the opportunities that might present to Kaduna state.”


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