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Govt charges operators on rural telecoms growth


Rural-TelephonyThough, Nigeria has crossed the 100 per cent teledensity mark, the Federal Government is deeply worried about poor rural telecommunications growth in Nigeria.

Telephone density or teledensity is the number of telephone connections for every hundred individuals living within an area. It varies widely across the nations and also between urban and rural areas within a country.

Consequently, government has said that the poor rural telecommunications growth was widening digital divide across the country.

To correct this imbalance, the FG has appealed to telecommunications operators to extend their services more to the hinterland, stressing that those in those localities also deserved to be served.

The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, who disclosed and made this appeal on Monday in Lagos, during a facility visit to major telecommunications firm, noted that the government was ready to support operators to achieve this fit.

According to him, indeed, there have been availability of Internet signals and telephone services, which have been made possible by the contributions of the operators through various laying of fibre cables to communities and settlements, “but as it is, we still have huge deficit in terms of growth, especially in the rural areas. There are areas that you will get to and it becomes difficult for you to connect your phones. Other communities are even without needed infrastructure for the services to be available.”

Shittu said government has identified that laying of fibre cables are capital intensive, apart from other challenges including Right of Way, among others, “government needs to encourage them to bring in more capital so that at the end of the day, every Nigerian villages and settlements would have been connected and the people would enjoy services like those in the urban areas.”

Furthermore, the minister noted that there was need for collaboration on policies that would ensure that indigenous ICT companies were patronised and infrastructure development was promoted.

He said there are so many companies operating in Nigeria, which requires the support of government to thrive, especially in the creation of enabling environments for businesses to thrive.

“These companies are adding values to the lives of Nigerians. They have created jobs directly and indirectly, paid taxes. There is need to encourage them to continue to create more wealth, jobs that will continue to bring convenience to Nigerians. Government must synergise with the private sector for the growth of Nigeria’s economy”, he stressed.

According to him, government as a regulator must provide enabling environment that will attract investments.

The minister used his visit to Globacom, to appeal for the telecommunications firm’s intervention in the health sector. Adebayo said the telecommunications firm should diversify resources to take care of some poor people who suffer from one illness to another and most times required funding to medical trip, especially to India.

Current Statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has shown that Nigeria’s teledensity is 108 per cent; 150 million subscribers and; 95 million Internet subscribers.

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