COVID-19: Nigerians live bandwidth wasting country

By Ken Nwogbo |   03 April 2020   |   4:28 am  

As Nigeria shut down in the age of Coronavirus, online connections are keeping Nigerians in touch with vital institutions and each other.

It is safe to say that the health pandemic has forced people for the first time in history to work where they live instead of living where they work.

Broadband is so influential today that it could be regarded as an essential commodity.

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It also means affordable subscription prices, universal access to connected devices, and population equipped with digital skills are now vital characteristics of a healthy neighborhood, city, state, or country.

Despite its importance, broadband is still far from ubiquitous and affordable.

As a matter of fact, affordable internet service is still a distant dream only the rich and intrepid can afford in Nigeria.

As the lockdown persists, it is doubtful if the majority of Nigerians can afford to stay connected when they exhaust their internet data.

And with the epileptic power supply, most poor Nigerians would be cut from the rest of the world.

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For the economically vulnerable, that will be double jeopardy- not able to work and lack of access to information about the crisis.

That is why the government must help people working from home with tokens of free internet, along with other subsidies.

Chris Uwaje, the digital expert, said it’s ridiculous for wealthy Nigerians and a 7-year-old schoolboy in Nigeria to pay the same rate for the use of the Internet.

To him, the government should give public free mobile data to students and schools to use for remote learning amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“With 65-68% of the Youth population, lack of access and high cost to the Internet retards youth Innovation and educational quality for superior knowledge research and sustainable national development” Uwaje added.

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Also, Dayo Adetola, a researcher, said that the pandemic presents an opportunity for Nigeria to rejig its educational system.

“Subsidizing broadband internet for students and researchers will have multiplier effects. Aside from the obvious access to information for the study, children and their parents can always be engaged with the educational process through educational web portals that provide an interface to communicate with teachers and administrators, real-time access to assignments and grades, and numerous educational resources.” Adetola said.

Nodding in agreement, Uwaje, said the Nigerians live in a Bandwidth wasting country that produces less.

“With the advent of emerging technologies, lack of internet access to creativity, innovative marketing will increase our consumerism mentality. We need a Bill for this and not just Executive Order” he said.

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