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BB4NG Broadband for Nigeria Needs Electricity

By Wayan Vota on August 13, 2010

The Nigeria ICT Forum has a call to action – a call for Broad Band For Nigeria (BB4NG): broadband internet access with speed of at least 4Mbps that is accessible, affordable and dependable to all citizens regardless of their status, station or location.

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Now just to make sure we’re all talking the same language, BB4NG defines broadband Internet connectivity as:

a descriptive term for evolving digital technologies that provide consumers a signal switched facility offering integrated access to voice, high-speed data service, video-demand services, and interactive delivery services

And BB4NG believes that access to information is capable of promoting & accelerating development of the country, citing the GDP impacts of broadband:

“…for every 10 percentage point increase in penetrations of broadband services, there is an increase in economic growth of 1.3 percentage points.”

Not a long-term BB4NG power solution

But where’s the call for electrical power?

Now I happen to strongly agree with BB4NG. Broadband Internet access can accelerate the pace of development – economic, social, political – but even more than other information and communication technologies, broadband relies on a stable, reliable, and maintained municipal electrical grid infrastructure. Without it, broadband for all is a dream. Or as Oluwaseun Ojedeji says:

I think during the [BB4NG] forum, discussing how to create a policy that is geared towards having adequate power supply should be at the front burner. Yes Finland made such move because they already had the ingredients on ground. Electricity is very key and its on this that ICT will build on. Its good to have a broadband policy, but if the policy is for the people’s benefit then power is inevitable!

Sadly, it may be easier to implement a broadband policy than to re-energize Nigeria’s power grid, which is a defeat for Nigeria even if BB4NG succeeds.

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks and is the Digital Health Director at IntraHealth International. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of IntraHealth International or other ICTWorks sponsors.
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