ATCON tasks Buhari on Cybercrime Act enforcement
•Ajayi wants NCC to dispel rumour around spectrum racketeering
THE Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has called on President Muhammed Buhari to start the enforcement of the Cybercrime Act, particularly sections that deal with the protection of national infrastructure, especially in the telecommunications industry.
ATCON, through its president, Lanre Ajayi, said the association is confident that the Buhari-led administration will bring in the necessary change promised during electioneering campaign, but would want him to pay more attention to the promotion of eGovernment and eCommerce as a strategy to stimulate demand for broadband access provided by members of the group and also create an enabling environment for business development.
Speaking in Lagos, on Wednesday, while been conferred with the National Leadership and Commander of Nigerian Students Award, by the National Association of Nigerian Student (NANS), Ajayi, also asked the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to dispel rumours of spectrum racketeering surrounding its operations in the last few weeks.
Ajayi, an engineer, believed that NCC needed to speak out to avoid been given a bad name, stressing that such practices could deter more investments from coming into the sector.
Besides, he said such activities could also impact negatively on regulations, adding that regulation is about consistency. Speaking on the Cybercrime Act, which was assented to by the immediate Past President, Goodluck Jonathan, shortly before his exit, Ajayi said the Act will curb several illegalities in the ICT sector, if only it can be enforced on time.
According to him, the Buahri administration should make it a priority to enforce all the sections. Some of the sections prescribed between three to 15 years and even life imprisonment for violation of some rights in the ICT industry, especially in the areas of vandalisation of infrastructure.
On how the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry can move forward and contribute more to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is currently around 9.5 per cent, the ATCON president said the association advised the new administration to address issues bothering on Right of Ways (RoW); multiple taxations and vandalisation of telecommunications infrastructure.
For greater effect, ATCON said the Buhari-led administration must promote Nigeria local content.
“Government must get more Nigerians to participate in the sector. Big operators should be encouraged on local content development. The new administration would need to encourage local investors into the ICT sector”, he stated.
Ajayi said broadband penetration can move from the current 10 per cent to the projected 30 per cent in 2018 and above if there could be demand for more online activities that are legal.
“Nigeria is home to huge bandwidth capacity, but the demand for broadband is still very low. There is need to deploy eGovernment services to stimulate demand. If the demand failed to come, I am afraid, the country’s 30 per cent broadband target for 2018 may not materialize.
“The new administration must work harder to bring services online. Broadband should be for everybody. The country has crossed the 100 per cent teledensity mark, which means more Nigerians now have mobile phones. But the next revolution is broadband, so there is need for us to work harder, by bring services, especially those of government online.”
Meanwhile, in an interview with The Guardian, on the impact of Nigeria’s failure to meet the June 17 deadline date for the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) member countries to switch-over from analogue to digital broadcasting, Ajayi said not migrating will certainly affects the sector, because some spectrum used for analogue transmission are supposed to be freed and passed to the telecommunications sector, which would have helped players to improve services.
Ajayi said not migrating would affect broadband penetration, stressing that some of the challenges facing broadband penetration today in the country has been the non-availability of spectrum. According to him, not migrating is a double jeopardy for Nigeria, “there will not be availability of improved digital broadcasting for both television and radio programming.
You know radio gets to places where television and even broadband can not get to. The second problem is ours not meeting the set broadband penetration target for the country. We currently have as a nation, 10 per cent broadband penetration, and targets 30 per cent by 2018. So as it is now, without those spectrums from broadcasters, improved telecommunications services and broadband penetration have been threatened. So we need to do more to achieve all these.”
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