The Executive Director, Center for Information, Technology and Development (CITAD), Engr. Yunusa Zakari Yau, has charged the federal government to develop policies on community network to enhance internet access to unserved and underserved communities in Nigeria.
Speaking Thursday in Abuja, during a roundtable discussion on Last Minute Connectivity (LMC), Yau stated the policies, if developed, will empower 27.1 million Nigerians who lack internet access and enhance stronger network access across the country.
He explained that the policy if developed should also specify the fee for license at an affordable amount for the community, unlike the urban areas.
He noted that the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), which is supposed to be used to fund the internet access for the communities, are being used for community development projects, which is not supposed to be, advising that such practices should be stopped.
He said: “We need to empower communities in those places to build stronger network and for you to do that you need a policy that will specify how much they can pay for license because they can’t charge like the urban areas. Way forward for us is that Nigeria government should come up with policy on community network.
“The Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) is established as an agency to help bridge the digital divide in the country and it is supposed to be financed in three ways: through grants from organizations, government can provide fund, but most importantly, event telecommunication owner is supposed to pay 2.5% of its revenue to USPF, 40% is supposed to go to the USPF youth and the rest goes to the NCC which issues the license.
“That money by law is supposed to address the challenges of communities that have no access to communication but they money is not being used for that purpose but otherwise used for constituency project which the community already has, that’s a waste of resources so we are saying that this shouldn’t be the case, it should be on the basis of the need where they lack connectivity access.”