CITAD Renews Demand for National Policy on Community Networks
TECHDIGEST – The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) has renewed the call on the federal government to immediately provide a National Policy on Community Networks.
The Executive Director of CITAD, Yunusa Zakari Yau, who re-stated the demand at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday, noted that national policy is necessary to guide the operations of community networks.
Yau said the call was a follow-up to last month’s meeting of stakeholders in the telecommunication sector where they endorsed the community networks as a globally acceptable model for bridging connectivity gaps.
He said: “Participants at the meeting affirmed the viability of community networks as one of the innovative strategies that are being used by many countries across the world in addressing their connectivity gaps.
“This is, especially, where mobile network operators (MNOs) have found too unprofitable, either because the populations are sparse, communities are poor or they are hard to reach. So, community networks will fill those gaps’’, he said.
The CITAD boss recalled that the Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission, who represented the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, agreed that there was an urgent need for the policy on community networks.
“In particular, the representative of the Minister averred that if all that was needed to catalyse the emergence and growth of community networks in the country, then the matter was simple since the Minister is well known for his proactiveness in articulating policies for the digital space’’, he said.
While commending the Minister for initiating several important digital transformation programmes and strategies, Yau said the delay in formulation of national policy on community networks could impact negatively on the federal government’s digital agenda.
He, therefore, urged the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to set up a mechanism for the development of a robust National Policy for Community Networks to harness
The CITAD boss also called on NCC, NITDA, and Galaxy Backbone Plc, and the USPF to develop guidelines and regulations, intensify digital literacy drive, provide communities’ access to setting up community networks, and review strategies to align with current realities.